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BUTLER'S 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

COMPLETE EDITION 

EDITED, R E V I S E D A N D S V l> 1' L E M E N T E D B Y 

HERBERT J. THURSTON, S.J. 

and DONALD ATTWATER 

Foreword by Cardinal Basil Hume, O.S.B. 
Archbishop of Westminster 



VOLUME I 
JANUARY- FEBRUARY- MARCH 

General Index in Volume IV 


CHRISTIAN CLASSICS 

Westminster, Maryland 
1990 


NIHIL OBSTAT: PATRICIVS MORRIS, S.T.D., L.S.S. 

CENSOR DEPVTATVS 

IMPRIMATVR I E. MORROGH BERNARD 

VICARIVS GENERALIS 

WESTMONASTERII : DIE XXIII FEBRVARII MCMLIII 


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previous written permission. 


Lives of the Saints originally published 1756-9. 

Revised edition by Herbert J. Thurston, S. J., 

published 1926-38. Copyright by Burns & Oates. 

Second Edition, by Herbert J. Thurston, S. J. and 

Donald Attwater, published 1956. 

Copyright © Burns & Oates 1956. 

Reprinted 1981 

Foreword copyright © Burns & Oates 1981 


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ISBN: Cloth 87061 0457, Paperback 87061 1372 

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FOREWORD 



We live in a sophisticated, if not cynical, age in which the former "certainties" 
of faith, which brought comfort to so many, are now widely questioned. But 
surely a living faith can have no absolute certainties? Which of us has matured 
in religious belief without having experienced any intellectual difficulty? Faith, 
by very definition, grows through a constant, indeed daily, process, whereby 
doubts, old and new, must ever be conquered afresh. 

This growth in faith can be helped by stories and legends of the saints. Some 
of these members of the Church in glory who were commemorated liturgically 
in former days are rather forgotten today. Yet they may have much to teach us. 
Furthermore, the lives of good men and women can be, and often are, an 
inspiration to us. Happily, their memory is recorded in this, one of the great 
classic works on Christian sainthood. 

The heroic men and women described and speculated upon in these pages 
have bequeathed to us an inspiration that transcends ordinary history. It is not 
surprising then, that there should be a demand today for yet another edition of 
Butler's Lives. For this present generation seems to be seeking not the letter 
which kills, but the spirit which awakens. 

A fresh edition of this work then, is welcome, not least because of the 
curiously attractive echoes of its original eighteenth-century style. The modern 
re-editing, moreover, tends to belie Fr Thurston's modest comment that "This 
book is not intended for scholars". I hope that many people will find 
inspiration in reading it. _ ' 



Archbishop of Westminster 


PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

IT is now over a quarter of a century since Father Herbert Thurston, S.J., was 
asked to undertake a drastic revision and bringing up-to-date of Alban Butler's 
Lives of the Saints. The first, January, volume was published in 1926. 
Beginning with the second, February, volume (1930), Father Thurston invoked 
the help of Miss Norah Leeson in the revision or rewriting of many of the lives that 
appear in Butler and the compilation of others ; and Miss Leeson continued to 
contribute in this way down to the end of the June volume, as is testified by Father 
Thurston's repeated grateful acknowledgements to her in the pertinent prefaces 
(notably June, page viii). Beginning with the July volume (1932), the present 
editor was entrusted with the preparation of practically the whole of the text and 
the writing of additions thereto, down to the end of the series in 1938. Throughout 
the whole work Father Thurston himself always wrote the bibliographical and 
other notes at the end of each " life ". The general principles upon which the 
work was done are set out in Father Thurston's own words in the introduction 
which follows. 

The issuing of this second edition of the " revised Butler " in four volumes has in- 
volved a certain abbreviation of the 1926-38 text (one tenth was the proportion aimed 
at). For example, while shortened forms of Butler's daily exhortations had gener- 
ally been retained, it has now been found necessary to discard them entirely. While 
recognizing and welcoming the solid, unfanciful, scriptural character of Butler's 
homilies — so characteristic of eighteenth-century English Catholicism — it must also 
be recognized that they were often excessively repetitious and monotonous. Father 
Thurston points out that " Butler's main purpose in writing was undoubtedly the 
spiritual profit of his readers ". And it can hardly be denied that in our day and 
generation that purpose can be better served by letting the lives of the saints speak 
for themselves than by direct exhortation and " moralizing " about them. More- 
over, some idea of the true life of a saint, such as we, and Butler, tried to give, 
must be more conducive to true devotion than a false or doubtful idea : as Abbot 
Fernand Cabrol once wrote, " The exact knowledge of facts is of the greatest 
assistance to true piety ". For a Lives of the Saints in English as wholly appropri- 
ate to our time as Butler's was to his, the work must be done again from the begin- 
ning : and for that we have to await the coming of another Alban Butler, another 
Herbert Thurston. It has also been necessary to omit, especially in certain months, 
some of the brief notices of the very obscure or uncertainly-venerated saints : 
Father Thurston himself expressed the desirability of this in his preface to the 
December volume. On the other hand, room has been made for the very con- 
siderable amount of fresh material provided by the beatifications and canonizations 
of the past fifteen years, and also for some earlier holy ones who were not included 
in the first edition. Butler's original work contained some 1,486 separate entries ; 
the present version contains about 2,565. 


THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

The excisions from the 1926-38 text vary in length from one word to a 
page or more. But need for compression, or the addition of fresh or different 
matter, has also sometimes involved the rewriting of passages, or even of a whole 
" life ".* I have especially welcomed the opportunity to revise a great deal in 
July-December which I knew to be unsatisfactory, and to bring it at any rate more 
into line with Father Thurston's commentaries and with the text of January- June, 
written either by Father Thurston himself or more directly under his eye than were 
my contributions. Apart from verbal modifications, abbreviations and the like, 
the bibliographical and critical notes have been left as Father Thurston wrote them ; 
but some attempt has been made to bring the bibliographies up-to-date (May 1954). 
It was not possible to go through all the learned periodicals in various languages 
that have appeared since 1925, but due attention has been paid to the Analecta 
Bollandiana ; and I have added what is, I hope, a representative selection of 
new biographies and similar works. Among these last is included a number 
of " popular lives " for the general reader. Some of Father Thurston's critical 
notes have been incorporated at the end of the pertinent text for the convenience 
of the more casual reader. 

In this edition a uniform order of presentation has been adopted. With a few 
special exceptions {e.g. March 1, June 9, July 9, September 26) the first saint (or 
feast) dealt with each day is that which is commemorated in the general calendar 
of the Western church, when there is one. The order of the rest is chronological. 
The choice of day of the month on which a saint should be entered is a far less 
simple matter. In general I have followed Father Thurston's arrangement (which 
has involved not a few alterations of date) : viz. to adopt in the case of canonized 
saints the indications of the 1930 {secunda post typicam) edition of the Martyr ologium 
Romanum, and in the case of saints and beati not included in the martyrology, to 
deal with them, so far as was ascertainable, on the days appointed locally for their 
liturgical observance. This last rule, however, does not always provide any 
satisfactory guidance, for the same saint may be commemorated in half a dozen 
different dioceses on half a dozen different days. But for those who belong to 
religious orders a feast-day is usually assigned in the order itself, and this I have 
done my best to adhere to. When for one reason or another {e.g. 3. very recently 
beatified subject) I have been unable to ascertain the feast-day, that person is 
entered under the day of his death. While this work was in progress, the Friars 
Minor adopted a new calendar, too late for me to make more than some of the 
consequent changes of date. In the title of each entry the saint is generally 
described according to the categories of Western liturgical usage, except that the 
description " confessor " is omitted throughout : any male saint not a martyr is a 
confessor. Occasionally the description does not agree with the office at present 
in use : e.g. on July 29, Felix " II " is referred to as " pope and martyr " by the 
Roman Martyrology and as " martyr " in the collects of the Missal and Breviary ; 
but he was neither a true pope nor a martyr. 

As it has now been my privilege to have a considerable part in the revision of 
Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints it is not out of place perhaps for me here to 
express my complete submission to Father Thurston's judgement as to how and in 
what spirit that work should be done, and our full agreement in admiration of 

# In doing which I have ever had in mind Alban Butler's own warning in his Introductory 
Discourse : " Authors who polish the style, or abridge the histories of others, are seldom 
to be trusted ". 

vi 


PREFACE 

Butler and his work. As I wrote in a foreword to the July volume, I first came to 
the work with a good deal of prejudice against Butler. But the prejudice was due 
to ignorance, and was soon dispelled. In common, I think, with most people who 
have never had occasion to read his Lives attentively, I had supposed him to 
be a tiresome, credulous and uncritical writer, an epitome of those hagiographers 
whose object is apparently at all costs to be " edifying ", sometimes in a 
rather cheap and shallow way. Certainly his manner of writing is tiresome, but it 
does not obscure his sound sense and the solid traditional teaching of his exhorta- 
tions. Credulous and uncritical he is not. He is as critical a hagiographer as the 
state of knowledge and available materials of his age would allow, and if he from 
time to time records as facts miracles and other events which we now, for one reason 
or another, have to question or definitely reject, he neither attaches undue import- 
ance to them nor seeks to multiply them : holiness meant to Butler humility and 
charity, not marvels. In only one respect does his critical faculty seriously fail 
him : he w r ill hear nothing against a saint and nothing in favour of a saint's opponent, 
whether heretic, sinner or simply opposed. That is an attitude we can no longer 
tolerate : without wanting to remove St Jerome's name from the calendar or to 
canonize Photius, we now recognize that truth is better served by admitting that 
St Jerome gave rein to a censorious and hasty tongue and that Photius was a man of 
virtuous life and great learning : that people on the right side of a controversy do 
not always behave well or wisely and those on the wrong side not always badly or 
foolishly. It was a saint, and one no less than Francis de Sales, who wrote : 

There is no harm done to the saints if their faults are shown as well as their 
virtues. But great harm is done to everybody by those hagiographers who 
slur over the faults, be it for the purpose of honouring the saints ... or 
through fear of diminishing our reverence for their holiness. It is not as they 
think. These writers commit a wrong against the saints and against the whole 
of posterity (GEuvres, Annecy ed., vol. x, p. 345). 

In the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lvii (1939), there appeared a general review of 
the revised edition of Butler's Lives from the pen of Father Hippolyte Delehaye, 
s.j., president of the Bollandists. Therein he enumerates some of the writers who, 
since the days of the Golden Legend of Bd James of Voragine, applied themselves 
to the task of adapting the lives of the saints to the ever-changing needs of time and 
place : " Among the more recent and the better known, who proceed above all from 
Ribadeneyra, may be named Rosweyde, Giry, Morin, Baillet, Butler, Godescard, 
down to the deplorable compilation of Mgr Guerin, to whom we owe the Petits 
Bollandistes" And he adds : " The palm goes to Alban Butler . . .." But it is 
only fitting that there should also be quoted here Father Delehaye's more lengthy 
appreciation of Father Herbert Thurston. 

Father Thurston is today unquestionably the savant w T ho is best up in 
hagiographical literature, in all related matters and in the surest critical 
methods. His numerous writings in this field keep him always in touch with 
the understanding public that takes interest in this branch of knowledge ; and 
there was no one better qualified than he to find the answer to the delicate 
problem of recasting the old collection [scil., Butler's Lives] in such a way as 
to satisfy piety without incurring the scorn of a category of readers generally 
difficult to please. . . . The summary commentary as he uses it gives the new 

vii 


THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

" Butler " a scientific value which makes this work of edification a tool for 
students as well. 

Referring to Father Thurston's writings in general Father Delehaye says : 

The considerable body of work wherein this learned man exercised his 
unusual abilities of research and criticism nearly always bears a relation, direct 
or indirect, to our [scil. 9 the Bollandists'] studies : such are his articles on the 
origin of Catholic feasts and devotions ; and on those wonderful phenomena 
that, rightly or wrongly, are looked on as supernatural, of which the lives of 
the saints are full : apparitions, stigmata, levitations — a world wherein one is 
continually brushing against illusion and fraud, into which one may venture 
only with a reliable and experienced guide.* 

Those words had not long been in print when Herbert Thurston was called to 
his reward, on November 3, 1939, to be followed eighteen months later by their 
writer, Father Delehaye. There may suitably be applied to them certain words of 
Alban Butler : " Great men, the wisest, the most prudent and judicious, the most 
learned and most sincere, the most free from bias of interest or passion, the most 
disengaged from the world, whose very goodness was a visible miracle of divine 
grace, are in themselves vouchers of the truth of the divine revelation of the Chris- 
tian religion. Their testimony is the more unexceptionable as they maintained it 
in a spirit of humility and charity, and in opposition to pride and all human 
interest." 

I cannot leave this preface without expressing my warmest thanks to Father 
Paul Grosjean, Bollandist, for his great kindness in reading the proofs of this 
second edition. That he should have undertaken this task is one more example 
of the wide-spiritedness of the Society of Bollandists, whose learning is always 
at the service of the humblest student, and whose interest extends to the most 
modest work in the field of hagiography and associated subjects. Whatever errors, 
omissions and faults of judgement this edition contains are all mine : it is thanks 
to Father Grosjean that they are not more : and I owe to him a number of valuable 
corrections and references. It was thanks to the work of the Bollandists that in 
the first instance Father Thurston was able to accept the formidable undertaking 
of revising Butler. It is thanks to Father Grosjean that I can let this further 
revision go before the public with considerably less trepidation than I should have 
felt had the proofs not come under his eye : the eye, moreover, of a scholar whose 
learning is particularly exercised upon the hagiological history of Great Britain 
and Ireland. 


Donald Attwater. 


Feast of St Bede the Venerable, 
May 27, 1954. 


# In 1952 Father Joseph Crehan, S.J., published a memoir of Father Thurston, which 
includes an invaluable bibliography of his writings, from his first article published in The 
Month in 1878 down to his death. Father Crehan has also edited in a single volume those 
of his articles that deal with stigmatization, levitation, second-sight and the like, as manifested 
in the lives of certain saints and others : The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism (1952). 


INTRODUCTION 

[The following introduction has been compiled from the relevant parts of Father Herbert 
Thurston's prefaces to the volumes of the 12-volume edition of the revised Butler's Lives, 
especially from the January preface. Words in square brackets are explanatory or connecting 
additions by the present editor. These prefaces were written between 1925 and 1938 ; 
and this must be borne in mind when reading, e.g. the second paragraph below, written in 
October 1925. The number of canonizations, etc., since then reinforces Father Thurston's 
words : it includes the beatification of groups of 191 French martyrs in 1926 and 136 Eng- 
lish martyrs in 1929.] 

THIS is not a book intended for scholars, though it is hoped that even scholars 
may sometimes find it useful. Its main object is to provide a short, but 
readable and trustworthy, account of the principal saints who are either 
venerated liturgically in the Western church, or whose names for one reason or 
another are generally familiar to Catholics of English speech. The work has 
developed out of a projected new edition of the well-known Lives of the Saints by 
the Rev. Alban Butler, which was originally published in London between 1756 
and 1759.* Upon a more careful examination of the text — many times reprinted 
since the eighteenth century, but always without adequate revision — it soon became 
apparent that to render this venerable classic acceptable to modern readers very 
considerable changes were required, affecting both its form and its substance. Of 
these modifications it is necessary to give some brief account. 

To begin with, Alban Butler died in 1773, rather more than 150 years ago. 
During the interval the Church's roll of honour has been enlarged by the addition 
of many new names. Even if we consider only the period which has elapsed since 
the death of Pope Pius IX in 1878 — i.e. not quite half a century — there have been 
in that time twenty-five canonizations and fifty-one formal and independent)* 
beatifications, some of them involving large groups of martyrs. But over and above 
this, we have a constant succession of equivalent beatifications, for the most part 
attracting little public notice, which take the form of what is called a confirmatio 
cultus. This is a decree sanctioning authoritatively and after due inquiry the 

* The full title of the first edition, which appeared without the author's name, was " The 
Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints ; compiled from original monu- 
ments and other authentick records ; illustrated with the remarks of judicious modern 
criticks and historians". Bishop Ward states that it was issued " nominally in four, really 
in seven octavo volumes " ; Mr Joseph Gillow, on the other hand, declares that there were 
five. The fact seems to be that there were only four paginations, but that the more bulky 
volumes, some of more than 1,000 pages, were divided into two parts by the binders and new 
title-pages supplied. On Bishop Challoner's advice some part of the notes, notably a long 
dissertation on the writings of St John Chrysostom, was omitted when the work was first 
published. These, however, with other supplementary matter, were printed from the 
author's manuscript in the second edition, which appeared in twelve volumes at Dublin in 
1 779-1 780, after Butler's death. 

| Each saint canonized is previously beatified. Only those beatifications are here 
numbered which have not so far been followed by canonization. 


THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

veneration alleged to have been paid from time immemorial to this or that servant 
of God who lived before 1634, when the enactments of Urban VIII regarding the 
canonization procedure came into force. Thus what is often called " the Beati- 
fication of the English Martyrs " [in 1886] was not, strictly speaking, a beatification 
at all. There was no solemn ceremony in St Peter's, no papal document taking the 
form of bull or brief, but simply a confirmatio cultus, published in 1886 with the 
pope's approval, but emanating from the Sacred Congregation of Rites. Never- 
theless, the effect of the decree was equivalent to that of a formal beatification. It 
justifies, subject to certain restrictions, the public veneration of any of the fifty-four 
martyrs therein named ; it allows Mass to be celebrated in their honour ; and it 
permits the faithful to invoke them individually and collectively as " Blessed ". 
When it is remembered that in this group are included such champions of the faith 
as Cardinal Fisher, Sir Thomas More, several monks of the London Charterhouse, 
the Countess of Salisbury (mother of Cardinal Pole), and Father Edmund Campion, 
s.j., not to speak of many others, secular priests, religious and laymen, it becomes 
clear that in virtue of this one decree Butler's lists need to be supplemented by half 
a dozen new entries, or possibly more. 

[But many others have been added to this edition, over and above those 
canonized or beatified since Butler's day. In the month of June, for example, over 
half the separate entries] are concerned with saints or groups of saints of whom there 
is no record in Alban Butler's original work. Of course such a computation of 
numbers warrants no inference as to the adequacy or inadequacy of the selection 
made. It would always be easy to add a multitude of other names borrowed from 
the martyrologies, from local service-books and calendars, or from the oriental 
synaxaries. But no good purpose would be served by attempting completeness 
. . . completeness of any sort is a simple impossibility. No authority save that of 
the Holy See can pronounce upon the claims of the thousands and thousands of 
alleged martyrs or ascetics whose names are heaped together in local martyrologies, 
synaxaries, episcopal or relic lists, and similar documents, and the Holy See very 
wisely has taken the course of remaining silent, unless on certain occasions when it 
has been specially appealed to. The oriental and Celtic "saints", so called, would 
alone create a most formidable problem. In the " Martyrology of Gorman ", a 
twelfth-century compilation, 72 presumably different Colmans are mentioned, and 
there are also 24 Aeds, 23 Aedans and 21 Fintans. Similarly anyone who will 
consult the index of the most recent edition of the Martyr ologium Romanum will find 
that 67 saints named Felix are therein commemorated. Even in the sixty-six folio 
volumes of the Bollandist Acta Sanctorum, quotquot toto orbe coluntar vel a catholicis 
scriptoribus celebrantur, there is no assumption of exhaustiveness. Under each day 
a long list is printed of praetermissi aut in alios dies rejecti, and the reason why these 
names are passed over amounts in most cases either to a doubt whether a title to 
inclusion on the ground of cultus has been made out, or else to the lack of information 
concerning the facts of their individual history. At a period when the public 
recognition of holiness amounted to no more than a local veneration, sanctioned at 
least tacitly by the bishop, it is exceedingly hard to decide which of the devout 
servants of God who have had the epithet " sanctus " or " beatus " at one time or 
other attached to their names, are to be regarded as invested with the religious halo 
of an aequipollent canonization. 

The principal aim of such a revision as the present must be to provide a brief 
account of the lives of those holy people whose claims to sanctity have either been 


INTRODUCTION 

attested by a formal pronouncement of the Holy See, or have met with definite 
liturgical recognition at an earlier period in response to popular acclaim. Unfor- 
tunately we must admit that in not a few cases veneration has been widely paid to 
personages of whose real history nothing certain is known, though the pious 
imagination of hagiographers has often run riot in supplying the deficiency. 
Further, there are names included in the Roman Martryology which stand only for 
phantom saints, some of them due to the strange blunders of medieval copyists, 
others representing nothing more than prehistoric sagas which have been embel- 
lished and transformed by a Christian colouring. Where such stories have become 
familiar and dear to the devout believers of earlier generations, it did not seem right 
to pass them by entirely unnoticed, even though the extravagance of the fiction is 
patent to all who read.* 

It has been suggested above that in the case of holy people held in honour during 
the first thousand years of the Church's history either for their virtues or for their 
violent death in the cause of Christ, it is by no means easy to determine which 
among them should be recognized as saints and as entitled to the prefix often 
attached to their names in historical records. In none of these cases can we point 
to a papal bull of canonization or to any formal acceptance by the Holy See other 
than inclusion in the Missal or a notice in the official martyrology read at Prime. 
So far as such servants of God have a claim to the honour of saintship, they owe the 
privilege to what is called an " aequipollent " (i.e. virtual) canonization. It is a 
sort of courtesy title in fact. In view of the confused ideas entertained by many 
people upon this subject, I have ventured, in Appendix II of the [last] volume, to 
reproduce with some additions a brief statement on the matter which I had occasion 
to w r rite in another connection and which appeared in The Tablet of January 15, 
1938. Appendix I consists of some few biographical notes concerning Alban 
Butler himself. The memoir published in 1799 by his nephew, Mr Charles Butler, 
seemed to me too verbose and characteristic of the tone of the eighteenth century 
to bear reprinting entire, but I have borrowed from it a few passages and excerpts 
from letters which preserved matter of biographical interest. 

More serious, however, than the comparatively simple task of supplying the 
lacunae of a book compiled nearly two centuries ago is the difficulty caused by the 
peculiarities of Butler's style. Charles Butler, in a memoir prefixed to an edition 
of the Lives brought out in 1798, seems to have formed an estimate of his uncle's 
literary gifts which most modern readers will find it difficult to endorse. He says, 
for example : 

Our Author's style is peculiar to himself ; it partakes more of the style of 
the writers of the last century than of the style of the present age. It possesses 
great merits, but sometimes is negligent and loose. Mr Gibbon mentioned it 
to the editor [i.e. Charles Butler] in warm terms of commendation ; and was 
astonished when he heard how much of Our Author's life had been spent 
abroad. Speaking of Our Author's Lives of the Saints, he calls it a " work of 
merit — the sense and learning belong to the author, his prejudices are those 

* [Even exploded legends have their spiritual, and other, significance : one reader has 
pointed out what an excellent lesson in recollection and freedom from curiosity is provided 
by St Manna's sojourn undetected in the monastery (February 12). But didactic fiction 
has gone rather out of fashion, and it is not everyone who can say of his amusement at 
hagiographical excesses that " it is a sympathetic and tolerant smile and in no way disturbs 
the religious emotion excited by the picture of the virtues and heroic actions of the saints " 
(H. Delehaye).— D. A.] 

xi 


THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of his profession ".* As it is known what prejudice means in Mr Gibbon's 
vocabulary, Our Author's relatives accept the character. 

It will be noticed that Gibbon's judgement upon the style of the Lives of the 
Saints is not recorded in his Decline and Fall. We only know it by Charles Butler's 
report, and it is possible that the nephew was mistaken in attaching serious import- 
ance to phrases which may have been spoken merely out of politeness and not 
without a suspicion of irony. Even when full allowance is made for the peculiarities 
of eighteenth-century diction, Butler's English impresses the reader nowadays as 
being almost intolerably verbose, slipshod in construction, and wanting in any sense 
of rhythm. He is hardly ever content to use one verb or one adjective where he 
can possibly employ two, and it seems difficult to believe that when he had once 
written a passage, it ever occurred to him to revise it with a view to making his 
meaning clear. As compared with the language of such contemporaries as David 
Hume, Smollett, Goldsmith, and even Samuel Johnson, I seem to detect a curiously 
foreign and latinized note in all that Butler published. One gets the impression 
that while he wrote in English, he often thought in French, and that a good many 
of the oddities of phraseology which continually jar upon the modern ear are due 
less to the fact that his diction is archaic than to a certain lack of familiarity with 
the English idioms of his own time. 

It may not perhaps be out of place to quote here a single example — and it is 
typical — of how Butler has often filled out his space with mere verbiage. In his 
account of St Ethelbert, King of Kent, the bretwalda who received St Augustine 
and was converted by him to Christianity, Butler writes as follows. I quote from 
the library edition of 1812 : 

Divine providence by these means [i.e. the marriage with Bertha, etc.] 
mercifully prepared the heart of a great king to entertain a favourable opinion 
of our holy religion, when St Augustine landed in his dominions : to whose 
life the reader is referred for an account of this monarch's happy conversion 
to the faith. From that time he appeared quite changed into another man, it 
being for the remaining twenty years of his life his only ambition and endeavour 
to establish the perfect reign of Christ, both in his own soul and in the hearts 
of all his subjects. His ardour in the exercises of penance and devotion never 
suffered any abatement, this being a property of true virtue, which is not to 
be acquired without much labour and pains, self-denial and watchfulness, 
resolution and constancy. Great were, doubtless, the difficulties and dangers 
which he had to encounter in subduing his passions, and in vanquishing many 
obstacles which the world and devil failed not to raise ; but these trials were 
infinitely subservient to his spiritual advancement, by rousing him continually 
to greater vigilance and fervour, and by the many victories and the exercise of 
all heroic virtues of which they furnished the occasions. 

Now this wordy panegyric is justified in precisely the measure in which such 
statements would probably be true of any other holy person. We know absolutely 
nothing about St Ethelbert beyond what Bede tells us, and there is no hint in Bede 
of any of the things here dwelt upon. He says not one syllable about a sudden 
change of conduct, or about unremitting " exercises of penance and devotion ", or 

* See Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Bury's edition), vol. v (1911), 
p. 36, note 76. 

xii 


INTRODUCTION 

about his struggles with temptation and the obstacles which the world and the 
Devil failed not to raise. The whole description has been evolved by Butler out 
of his inner sense of the probabilities of the case. This atmosphere of superlatives, 
without foundation in known facts, is surely regrettable. It can hardly fail to 
undermine all confidence in the author's statements, and when heroic deeds are 
recounted which really are based on trustworthy evidence, the reader is naturally 
led to ask himself whether these things also are mere padding introduced to give 
substance to a narrative which was too conspicuously jejune. 

I must confess, then, that in the almost hopeless effort to secure some sort of 
harmony between Butler's Lives and the large number of biographies now added 
to bring the work up to date, I have constantly treated his original text with scant 
respect. It was impossible to leave unaltered such a description as the following 
— I quote one example out of hundreds — " melting away with the tenderest 
emotions of love, he [St Odilo] fell to the ground ; the ecstatic agitations of his 
body bearing evidence to that heavenly fire which glowed in his soul " ; or, again, 
a few lines lower down, " he excelled in an eminent spirit of compunction and 
contemplation. Whilst he was at prayer, trickling tears often watered his cheeks."* 
Moreover, some considerable economy of space was necessary in order to make 
room for the additional material and so I have more or less systematically eliminated 
the footnotes and the small-type excursuses which are found in the second and 
subsequent editions. Butler made excellent use of his authorities, and he un- 
doubtedly went to the best sources then available, but in almost every department 
of knowledge new and momentous discoveries have been made since the beginning 
of the nineteenth century, so that almost all the English hagiographer's erudition 
is now out of date. The only practical course seemed to be to omit the notes, 
replacing them at the end of each biography by a few references to standard authori- 
ties, and adding, where the matter seemed to call for it, a brief discussion of the 
historical problems involved. In not a few instances it has, for one reason or 
another, seemed best to set aside not only the notes, but the biography itself, and 
to rewrite the whole. f 

Butler's main purpose in writing was undoubtedly the spiritual profit of his 
readers, and from the beginning of January to the end of December it is his practice 
to conclude the first biography of the group belonging to each day with a short 
exhortation.^ In this connection an extract or two from Butler's preface to the 
Lives will serve to illustrate the ideal which he had before him in compiling his 
magnum opus, and will at the same time furnish a more favourable specimen of his 
thought and of his style than is commonly met with in the body of the work. He 
says, for example, very truly : 

The method of forming men to virtue by example is, of all others, the 
shortest, the most easy, and the best adapted to all circumstances and dis- 
positions. Pride recoils at precepts, but example instructs without usurping 
the authoritative air of a master ; for, by example, a man seems to advise 
and teach himself. ... In the lives of the saints we see the most perfect maxims 

* In the life of St Odilo on January i, vol. i, p. 43, of the edition of 1812. 
t [On pages vi-viii of the March volume (1931), readers interested in the matter will 
find a note by Father Thurston about the relation between certain passages in the text of 
Butler's " Lives " and passages in The Lives of the Saints (1872-77) by the Reverend Sabine 
Baring-Gould. — D.A.] 
J Cf. page v above. 

xiii 


THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of the gospel reduced to practice, and the most heroic virtue made the object 
of our senses, clothed as it were with a body, and exhibited to view in its 
most attractive dress. . . . Whilst we see many sanctifying themselves in all 
states, and making the very circumstances of their condition, whether on tht 
throne, in the army, in the state of marriage, or in the deserts, the means of their 
virtue and penance, we are persuaded that the practice of perfection is possible 
also to us, in every lawful profession, and that we need only sanctify our 
employments by a perfect spirit, and the fervent exercises of religion, to 
become saints ourselves, without quitting our state in the world. . . . Though 
we cannot imitate all the actions of the saints, we can learn from them to 
practise humility, patience, and other virtues in a manner suiting our circum- 
stances and state of life ; and can pray that we may receive a share in the 
benedictions and glory of the saints. As they who have seen a beautiful 
flower-garden, gather a nosegay to smell at the whole day, so ought we, in 
reading, to cut out some flowers by selecting certain pious reflections and 
sentiments with which we are most affected ; and these we should often 
renew during the day ; lest we resemble a man who, having looked at 
himself in the glass, goeth away, and forgetteth what he had seen of himself. 


xiv 


CONTENTS OF VOLUME I 
JANUARY 

PAGE 

1. Octave of the Birthday of Our Lord Jesus Christ .... I 

St Concordius, martyr ......... 3 

St Almachius, or Telemachus, martyr ...... 3 

St Euphrosyne, virgin ......... 4 

St Eugendus, or Oyend, abbot ....... 5 

St Fulgentius, bishop ......... 6 

St Felix of Bourges, bishop ........ 9 

St Clams, abbot .......... 10 

St Peter of Atroa, abbot . ....... 10 

St William of Saint Benignus, abbot . . . . . . 12 

St Odilo, abbot 12 

Bd Zdislava, matron . . . . . . . . .14 

Bd Hugolino of Gualdo ......... 14 

Bd Joseph Tommasi ......... 15 

2. The Holy Name of Jesus 18 

St Macarius of Alexandria ........ 19 

St Munchin, bishop .... ..... 21 

St Vincentian .......... 22 

St Adalhard, or Adelard, abbot 22 

Bd Ayrald, bishop ......... 23 

Bd Stephana Quinzani, virgin ....... 24 

St Caspar del Bufalo ......... 25 

3. St Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin. (See Vol. IV, p. 593ff) 

St Anthems, pope and martyr ....... 26 

St Peter Balsam, martyr 26 

St Genevieve, or Genovefa, virgin . 28 

St Bertilia of Mareuil, widow . 30 

4. St Gregory of Langres, bishop 30 

St Pharaildis, virgin . . . 31 

St Rigobert, archbishop ........ 32 

Bd Roger of Ellant 32 

Bd Oringa, virgin 32 

Bd Elizabeth Ann Seton (See Appendix III) 

5. St Telesphorus, pope and martyr . . . . . . 33 

St Apollinaris, virgin 33 

St Syncletica, virgin . . . . . . . . -33 

St Simeon the Stylite 34 

St Convoyon, abbot 37 

St Dorotheus the Younger, abbot . . . . . . .38 

StGerlac 38 

Bd John Nepomucen Neumann (See Appendix III) 

XV 


January] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

6. The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ 39 

St Wiltrudis, widow ......... 42 

St Erminold, abbot ......... 42 

St Guarinus, or Gu6rin, bishop ....... 42 

Bd Gertrude of Delft, virgin ........ 43 

St John de Ribera, archbishop ....... 43 

Bd Raphaela Mary, virgin ........ 44 

7. St Lucian of Antioch, martyr ........ 46 

St Valentine, bishop ......... 47 

StTillo 47 

St Aldric, bishop .......... 48 

StReinold 48 

St Canute Lavard, martyr ... ..... 49 

Bd Edward Waterson, martyr . . . . . . . .49 

8. St Apollinaris of Hierapolis, bishop . . . . . . .50 

St Lucian of Beauvais, martyr . . . . . . .51 

St Severinus of Noricum . . . . . . . .52 

St Severinus of Septempeda, bishop . . . . . . 53 

St Erhard, bishop . 53 

St Gudula, virgin .......... 54 

St Pega, virgin 54 

St Wulsin, bishop .......... 55 

St Thorfinn, bishop ......... 55 

9. St Marciana, virgin and martyr . . . . . . .56 

SS. Julian and Basilissa, and Companions, martyrs . . . . 56 

St Peter of Sebastea, bishop . . . . . . . .57 

St Waningus, or Vaneng ........ 58 

St Adrian of Canterbury, abbot . 58 

St Berhtwald of Canterbury, archbishop . . . . . 59 

Bd Alix Le Clercq, virgin . . . . . . . -59 

10. St Marcian ........... 63 

St John the Good, bishop ........ 63 

St Agatho, pope .......... 64 

St Peter Orseolo .......... 64 

St William of Bourges, archbishop ....... 65 

Bd Gregory X, pope ......... 66 

11. St Hyginus, pope 67 

St Theodosius the Cenobiarch ....... 68 

St Salvius, or Sauve, bishop ........ 70 

12. St Arcadius, martyr 70 

SS. Tigrius and Eutropius, martyrs . . . . . .71 

St Caesaria, virgin ......... 72 

St Victorian, abbot ......... 72 

St Benedict, or Benet, Biscop, abbot 72 

xvi 


CONTENTS 


[January 


PAGE 


13. St Agrecius, bishop 
St Berno, abbot 
Bd Godfrey of Kappenberg 
Bd Jutta of Huy, widow 
Bd Veronica of Binasco, virgin 


14. St Hilary of Poitiers, bishop and doctor 
St Felix of Nola .... 
St Macrina the Elder, widow . 
SS. Barbasymas and his Companions, martyrs 
The Martyrs of Mount Sinai . 
St Datius, bishop .... 
St Kentigern, or Mungo, bishop 
Bd Odo of Novara 
St Sava, archbishop 
Bd Roger of Todi .... 
Bd Odoric of Pordenone 
Bd Giles of Lorenzana . 
St Antony Pucci .... 

15. St Paul the Hermit 
St Macarius the Elder . 
St Isidore of Alexandria 
St John Calybites .... 
St Ita, virgin .... 
St Maurus, abbot .... 
St Bonitus, or Bonet, bishop . 

St Ceolwulf 

Bd Peter of Castelnau, martyr 
Bd Francis de Capillas, martyr 

16. St Marcellus I, pope and martyr 
St Priscilla, matron 
St Honoratus of Aries, bishop 
St Fursey, abbot .... 
Bd Ferreolus, bishop and martyr 
St Henry of Cocket 

SS. Berard and his Companions, martyrs 
Bd Gonsalo of Amarante 

17. St Antony the Abbot 
SS. Speusippus, Eleusippus and Meleusippus, martyrs 
St Genulf, or Genou, bishop . 
St Julian Sabas .... 
St Sabinus of Piacenza, bishop 
St Sulpicius II, or Sulpice, bishop . 
St Richimir, abbot 
Bd Roseline, virgin 

18. St Peter's Chair at Rome 
St Prisca, virgin and martyr . 
St Volusian, bishop 
St Deicolus, or Desle, abbot . 


xvn 


January] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

Bd Beatrice cTEste of Ferrara, widow 1 16 

Bd Christina of Aquila, virgin 117 

19. SS. Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, martyrs . . .117 
St Germanicus, martyr . . . . . . . . .118 

St Nathalan, bishop 118 

St Albert of Cashel, bishop . . . . . . . .119 

St Fillan, or Foelan, abbot . . . . . . . .120 

St Canute of Denmark, martyr . . . . . . .121 

St Wulfstan, bishop . . . . . . . . .121 

St Henry of Uppsala, bishop and martyr . . . . . .123 

Bd Andrew of Peschiera . . . . . . . .123 

Bd Bernard of Corleone . . . . . . . .124 

St Charles of Sezze ......... 125 

Bd Margaret Bourgeoys, virgin . . . . . . .125 

Bd Thomas of Cori ......... 127 

20. St Fabian, pope and martyr ........ 128 

St Sebastian, martyr ......... 128 

St Euthymius the Great, abbot . . . . . . .130 

St Fechin, abbot .......... 132 

Bd Benedict of Coltiboni . . . . . . . .132 

Bd Desiderius, or Didier, of Therouanne, bishop .... 133 

21. St Agnes, virgin and martyr ........ 133 

St Fructuosus of Tarragona, bishop and martyr .... 137 

St Patroclus, martyr ......... 138 

St Epiphanius of Pavia, bishop . . . . . . .139 

St Meinrad, martyr ......... 139 

Bd Edward Stransham, martyr ....... 140 

BB. Thomas Reynolds and Alban Roe, martyrs . . . .140 

Bd Josepha of Beniganim, virgin ....... 142 

22. St Vincent of Saragossa, martyr ....... 142 

St Blesilla, widow .......... 144 

St Anastasius the Persian, martyr ....... 144 

St Dominic of Sora, abbot . . . . . . . .147 

St Berhtwald of Ramsbury, bishop . . . . . . .147 

Bd William Patenson, martyr . . . . . . . .147 

Bd Vincent Pallotti 148 

23. St Raymund of Penafort ........ 149 

St Asclas, martyr .......... 152 

St Emerentiana, virgin and martyr . . . . . . .152 

SS. Clement and Agathangelus, martyrs . . . . . .153 

St John the Almsgiver, bishop . . . . . . 153 

St Ildephonsus, archbishop . . . . . . . .155 

St Bernard of Vienne, archbishop . . . . . . .156 

St Lufthildis, virgin . . . . . . . . .157 

St Maimbod, martyr 157 

Bd Margaret of Ravenna, virgin . . . . . . .157 

xviii 


CONTENTS [January 

PAGE 

24. St Timothy, bishop and martyr . . . . . . .158 

St Babylas, bishop and martyr . . . . . . .160 

St Felician, bishop and martyr . . . . . . .160 

St Macedonius 161 

Bd Marcolino of Forll 161 

25. The Conversion of St Paul 162 

St Artemas, martyr . ....... 164 

SS. Juventinus and Maximinus, martyrs . . . . . .164 

St Publius, abbot 165 

St Apollo, abbot 165 

St Praejectus, or Prix, bishop and martyr . . . . .166 
St Poppo, abbot 166 

26. St Polycarp, bishop and martyr . . . . . . .167 

St Paula, widow . . . . . . . . . .171 

St Conan, bishop .......... 172 

St Alberic, abbot 173 

St Eystein, archbishop . . . . . . . . .174 

St Margaret of Hungary, virgin . . . . . . .176 

27. St John Chrysostom, archbishop and doctor 178 

St Julian of Le Mans, bishop . . . . . . . .183 

St Marius, or May, abbot 183 

St Vitalian, pope .......... 184 

Bd John of Warneton, bishop 184 

28. St Peter Nolasco 185 

St John of Reomay, abbot 187 

St Paulinus of Aquileia, bishop . . . . . . .188 

Bd Charlemagne .......... 188 

St Amadeus of Lausanne, bishop 189 

Bd James the Almsgiver . . . . . . . .190 

Bd Antony of Amandola 191 

St Peter Thomas, bishop . . . . . . . .191 

Bd Mary of Pisa, widow ........ 192 

Bd Julian Maunoir ......... 193 

29. St Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor . . . . . .195 

St Sabinian, martyr ......... 201 

St Gildas the Wise, abbot 201 

St Sulpicius " Severus ", bishop ....... 202 

30. St Martina, virgin and martyr ....... 203 

St Barsimaeus, bishop ......... 203 

St Bathildis, widow ......... 204 

St Aldegundis, virgin ......... 205 

St Adelelmus, or Aleaume, abbot ....... 205 

St Hyacintha Mariscotti, virgin ....... 206 

Bd Sebastian Valfr6 207 

xix 


February] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

31. St John Bosco .......... 208 

SS. Cyrus and John, martyrs ........ 212 

St Marcella, widow . . . . . . . . .213 

St Aidan, or Maedoc, of Ferns, bishop . . . . . .214 

St Adamnan of Coldingham . . . . . . . .215 

St Ulphia, virgin . . . . . . . . . .215 

St Eusebius, martyr . . . . . . . . .215 

St Nicetas of Novgorod, bishop . . . . . . .216 

Bd Paula Gambara-Costa, matron . . . . . . .216 

St Francis Xavier Bianchi . . . . . . . .217 


FEBRUARY 

1. St Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr . . . . .219 

St Pionius, martyr ......... 224 

St Brigid, or Bride, of Kildare, virgin ...... 225 

St Sigebert III of Austrasia ........ 229 

St John " of the Grating ", bishop ....... 229 

Bd Antony the Pilgrim . . . . . . . . .230 

Bd Henry Morse, martyr . . . . . . . .231 

2. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary ..... 232 

St Adalb aid of Ostrevant, martyr . . . . . . .236 

The Martyrs of Ebsdorf . . . . . . . .237 

St Joan de Lestonnac, widow . . . . . . . .237 

3. St Blaise, bishop and martyr . . . . . . . .239 

St Laurence of Spoleto, bishop ....... 240 

St la, virgin ........... 240 

St Laurence of Canterbury, archbishop . . . . . .241 

St Werburga, virgin . . . . . . . . .241 

St Anskar, archbishop ......... 242 

St Margaret " of England ", virgin ....... 243 

Bd Simon of Cascia ......... 244 

Bd John Nelson, martyr ........ 245 

Bd Stephen Bellesini 245 

4. St Andrew Corsini, bishop ........ 246 

St Theophilus the Penitent 247 

St Phileas, bishop and martyr . . . . . . .248 

St Isidore of Pelusium, abbot ........ 249 

St Modan, abbot 249 

Bd Rabanus Maurus, archbishop ....... 249 

St Nicholas Studites, abbot . . . . . . . 25 1 

St Rembert, archbishop . . . . . . . . 25 1 

St Joan of France, matron . . . . . . . .252 

Bd Thomas Plumtree, martyr . . . . . . . .253 

St Joseph of Leonessa . . . . . . . 253 

St John de Britto, martyr ........ 254 

xx 


CONTENTS [February 

PAGE 

5* St Agatha, virgin and martyr 255 

St Avitus of Vienne, bishop 256 

St Bertulf, or Bertoul ......... 257 

SS. Indractus and Dominica, martyrs . . . . . .258 

St Vodalus, or Voel 258 

St Adelaide of Bellich, virgin ........ 258 

The Martyrs of Japan, I 259 

6. St Titus, bishop 260 

St Dorothy, virgin and martyr 261 

SS. Mel and Melchu, bishops ....... 262 

St Vedast, or Vaast, bishop 262 

St Amand, bishop ......... 263 

St Guarinus, bishop ......... 264 

Bd Raymund of Fitero, abbot 265 

St Hildegund, widow ......... 265 

Bd Angelo of Furcio 266 

7. St Romuald, abbot 266 

St Adaucus, martyr 268 

St Theodore of Heraclea, martyr ....... 269 

St Moses, bishop .......... 270 

St Richard, " King " 270 

St Luke the Younger 271 

Bd Rizzerio 272 

Bd Antony of Stroncone 272 

Bd Thomas Sherwood, martyr 273 

BB. James Sales and William Saultemouche, martyrs . . • 274 

Bd Giles Mary 275 

Bd Eugenia Smet (See Appendix III) 

8. St John of Matha 276 

St Nicetius, or Nizier, of Besancon, bishop 278 

St Elfleda, virgin 278 

St Meingold, martyr ......... 279 

St Cuthman 280 

Bd Peter Igneus, bishop . . . . . . . .281 

St Stephen of Muret, abbot 282 

Bd Isaiah of Cracow 282 

9. St Cyril of Alexandria, archbishop and doctor. .... 283 

St Apollonia, virgin and martyr 286 

St Nicephorus, martyr ......... 286 

St Sabinus of Canosa, bishop 288 

St Teilo, bishop 288 

St Ansbert, bishop 290 

St Alto, abbot 290 

Bd Marianus Scotus 290 

10. St Scholastics, virgin 292 

St Soteris, virgin and martyr 293 

St Trumwin, bishop ......... 293 

St Austreberta, virgin 294 

xxi 


February] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

St William of Maleval . . . . . . . . .295 

Bd Hugh of Fosses ......... 296 

Bd Clare of Rimini, widow ........ 297 

1 1 . The Appearing of Our Lady at Lourdes ...... 298 

SS. Saturninus, Dativus and other Martyrs ..... 303 

St Lucius, bishop and martyr ....... 304 

St Lazarus, bishop ......... 304 

St Severinus, abbot ......... 305 

St Caedmon .......... 305 

St Gregory II, pope ......... 308 

St Benedict of Aniane, abbot . . . . . . . .309 

St Paschal I, pope . . . . . . . . .311 

12. The Seven Founders of the Servite Order . . . . .311 

St Marina, virgin .......... 313 

St Julian the Hospitaller . . . . . . . .314 

St Meletius of Antioch, archbishop . . . . . . .316 

St Ethelwald of Lindisfarne, bishop . . . . . .317 

St Antony Kauleas, bishop . . . . . . . .317 

StLudan 318 

BB. Thomas Hemerford and his Companions, martyrs . . . 318 

13. St Polyeuctus, martyr ......... 320 

St Martinian the Hermit . . . . . . . .320 

St Stephen of Rieti, abbot . . . . . . . .321 

St Modomnoc .......... 322 

St Licinius, or L£sin, bishop . . . . . . . .322 

St Ermengild, or Ermenilda, widow . . . . . .323 

Bd Beatrice of Ornacieu, virgin . . . . . . .323 

Bd Christina of Spoleto . . . . . . . . .324 

Bd Eustochium of Padua, virgin . . . . . . .325 

Bd Archangela Girlani, virgin . . . . . . .327 

St Catherine dei Ricci, virgin . . . . . . . .328 

14. St Valentine, martyr ......... 332 

St Abraham, bishop . . . . . . . . -334 

St Maro, abbot 334 

St Auxentius .......... 335 

St Conran, bishop 336 

St Antoninus of Sorrento, abbot ....... 337 

Bd Conrad of Bavaria ......... 337 

St Adolf of Osnabriick, bishop 338 

Bd Nicholas Paglia . . . . . . . . .338 

Bd Angelo of Gualdo ......... 339 

Bd John Baptist of Almodovar ....... 339 

15. SS. Faustinus and Jovita, martyrs . . . . . . .340 

St Agape, virgin and martyr . . . . . . . .341 

St Walfrid, abbot 341 

St*Tanco, bishop and martyr ........ 342 

St Sigfrid, bishop 342 

xxii 


CONTENTS 


[February 


PAGE 


Bd Jordan of Saxony 
Bd Angelo of Borgo San Sepolcro 
Bd Julia of Certaldo, virgin 
Bd Claud la Colombiere 

16. St Onesimus, martyr 
St Juliana, virgin and martyr . 
SS. Elias, Jeremy and their Companions, martyrs 
St Gilbert of Sempringham 
Bd Philippa Mareri, virgin 
Bd Verdiana, virgin 
Bd Eustochium of Messina, virgin 
Bd Bernard Scammacca . 

17. SS. Theodulus and Julian, martyrs 
St Loman, bishop . 
St Fintan of Cloneenagh, abbot 
St Finan, bishop . 
St Silvin, bishop . 
St Evermod, bishop 
Bd Reginald of Orleans 
Bd Luke Belludi . 
Bd Andrew of Anagni 
Bd Peter of Treia . 
Bd William Richardson, martyr 
The Martyrs of China, I 

18. St Simeon, bishop and martyr 
SS. Leo and Paregorius, martyrs 
St Flavian, bishop and martyr 
St Helladius, archbishop 
St Colman of Lindisfarne, bishop 
St Angilbert, abbot 
St Theotonius 

Bd William Harrington, martyr 
Bd John Pibush, martyr 

19. St Mesrop, bishop 
St Barbatus, bishop 
St Beatus of Liebana 
St Boniface of Lausanne, bishop 
St Conrad of Piacenza . 
Bd Alvarez of Cordova . 


20. SS. Tyrannio, Zenobius and other Martyrs 
St Sadoth, bishop and martyr 
St Eleutherius of Tournai, bishop 
St Eucherius of Orleans, bishop 
StWulfric .... 
Bd Elizabeth of Mantua, virgin 

21. St Severian, bishop and martyr 
Bd Pepin of Landen 


xxm 


February] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

St Germanus of Granfel, martyr ....... 385 

St George of Amastris, bishop ....... 386 

Bd Robert Southwell, martyr 386 

Bd Noel Pinot, martyr 391 

22. St Peter's Chair 392 

SS. Thalassius and Limnaeus ........ 395 

St Baradates 395 

St Margaret of Cortona ......... 396 

23. St Peter Damian, bishop and doctor . . . . . • 399 

St Serenus the Gardener, martyr . . . . . . .401 

St Alexander Akimetes ......... 402 

St Dositheus .......... 403 

St Boisil, or Boswell, abbot ........ 404 

St Milburga, virgin 405 

St Willigis, archbishop ......... 406 

24. St Matthias, apostle 407 

SS. Montanus, Lucius, and their Companions, martyrs . . . 408 

St Praetextatus, or Prix, bishop and martyr . . . . .411 

25. SS. Victorinus and his Companions, martyrs . . . . .412 
St Caesarius of Nazianzus ........ 413 

St Ethelbert of Kent 414 

St Walburga, virgin ......... 415 

St Tarasius, bishop ......... 416 

St Gerland, bishop ......... 418 

Bd Robert of Arbrissel, abbot . . . . . . .418 

BB. Avertanus and Romaeus . . . . . . . .419 

Bd Constantius of Fabriano ........ 420 

Bd Sebastian Aparicio ......... 420 

26« St Nestor, bishop and martyr ........ 422 

St Alexander of Alexandria, bishop . . . . . . .423 

St Porphyry, bishop 423 

St Victor the Hermit 426 

Bd Leo of Saint-Bertin, abbot 427 

Bd Isabel of France, virgin 427 

27. St Gabriel Possenti 429 

SS. Julian, Cronion and Besas, martyrs 431 

St Thalelaeus the Hermit 43 1 

St Leander of Seville, bishop 432 

St Baldomerus, or Galmier . . . . . . . • 433 

StAlnoth 434 

St John of Gorze, abbot ........ 434 

Bd Mark Barkworth, martyr 435 

Bd Anne Line, martyr 436 

28. Martyrs in the Plague of Alexandria 436 

St Proterius, bishop and martyr 437 

SS. Romanus and Lupicinus, abbots 438 

xxiv 


CONTENTS 


[March 


St Hilarus, pope . 
St Oswald of Worcester, bishop 
Bd Angela of Foligno, widow . 
Bd Villana of Florence, matron 
Bd Hedwig of Poland, matron 
Bd Antonia of Florence, widow 
Bd Louisa Albertoni, widow . 


PAGE 

439 
439 
440 

444 
445 
446 

447 


MARCH 

1 . St David, or Dewi, bishop 
St Felix II (III)/ pope . 

St Albinus, or Aubin, of Angers, bishop 

St Swithbert, bishop 

St Rudesind, or Rosendo, bishop 

Bd Roger le Fort, archbishop . 

Bd Bonavita 

Bd Christopher of Milan 

Bd Peter Ren6 Roque, martyr 

2. The Martyrs under the Lombards . 
St Chad, or Ceadda, bishop 
Bd Charles the Good, martyr 
Bd Fulco of Neuilly 
Bd Agnes of Bohemia, virgin 
Bd Henry Suso 

3. SS. Marinus and Astyrius, martyrs . 
SS. Emeterius and Chelidonius, martyrs 
St Arthelais, virgin 

St Non, or Nonnita 

St Winwaloe, or Guenol6, abbot 

St Anselm of Nonantola, abbot 

St Cunegund, widow 

St Gervinus, abbot 

Bd Serlo, abbot . 

St Aelred, abbot . 

Bd Jacopino of Canepaci 

Bd Teresa Verzeri, virgin 

Bd Innocent of Berzo (See Appendix III) 


449 
45i 
452 
452 
454 
455 
456 
456 
457 

457 
457 
460 
461 
462 
464 

466 
467 
467 
468 
469 
470 
470 
472 
473 
473 
476 
476 


4. St Casimir of Poland ......... 478 

St Lucius I, pope .......... 479 

SS. Adrian and his Companions, martyrs ..... 480 

St Peter of Cava, bishop . . . . . . . .481 

Bd Humbert III of Savoy 482 

Bd Christopher Bales, martyr ........ 482 

Bd Placida Viel, virgin ......... 483 

5. SS. Adrian and Eubulus, martyrs ....... 484 

St Phocas of Antioch, martyr ........ 485 

XXV 


March] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

St Eusebius of Oemona ........ 485 

St Gerasimus, abbot ......... 486 

St Kieran, or Ciaran, of Saighir, bishop ...... 487 

St Piran, abbot .......... 489 

St Virgil of Aries, archbishop ........ 489 

St John Joseph of the Cross ........ 490 

6. SS. Perpetua, Felicity and their Companions, martyrs . . . 493 
St Fridolin, abbot .......... 499 

SS. Cyneburga, Cyneswide and Tibba ...... 500 

St Chrodegang, bishop . . . . . . . . .501 

SS. Balred and Bilfrid 502 

St Cadroe, or Cadroel, abbot ........ 502 

St Ollegarius, or Oldegar, archbishop ...... 503 

St Cyril of Constantinople . . . . . .504 

Bd Jordan of Pisa .......... 505 

St Colette, virgin .......... 506 

7. St Thomas Aquinas, doctor . . . . . . . .509 

St Paul the Simple 513 

St Drausius, or Drausin, bishop . . . . . . 515 

St Esterwine, abbot . . . . . . . . .515 

StArdo 516 

St Theophylact, bishop . . . . . . . . .516 

8. St John of God 517 

St Pontius 520 

SS. Philemon and Apollonius, martyrs . . . . . .521 

St Senan, bishop 522 

St Felix of Dunwich, bishop . . . . . . . .524 

St Julian of Toledo, archbishop . . . . . . .524 

St Humphrey, or Hunfrid, bishop . . . . . . .525 

St Duthac, bishop . . . . . . . . .526 

St Veremund, abbot . . . . . . . . .526 

St Stephen of Obazine, abbot 527 

Bd Vincent of Cracow, bishop . . . . . . .528 

9. St Frances of Rome, widow . . . . . . . .529 

St Pacian, bishop .......... 533 

St Gregory of Nyssa, bishop . . . . . . . -533 

St Bosa, bishop 536 

St Catherine of Bologna, virgin . . . . . . 536 

St Dominic Savio ......... 539 

10. The Forty Martyrs of Sebastea 541 

SS. Codratus and his Companions, martyrs ..... 544 

St Macarius of Jerusalem, bishop 544 

St Simplicius, pope 545 

St Kessog, bishop and martyr 546 

St Anastasia Patricia, virgin ........ 546 

St Droctoveus, or Drott6, abbot 547 

St Attalas, abbot 547 

xxvi 


CONTENTS [March 

PAGE 

StHimelin 548 

Bd Andrew of Strumi, abbot ........ 549 

Bd John of Vallombrosa . . . . . . . .550 

Bd Peter Geremia ........ 550 

Bd John Ogilvie, martyr ........ 552 

11. St Constantine, martyr ......... 556 

St Sophronius, bishop . . . . . . . . .557 

St Vindician, bishop ......... 558 

St Benedict of Milan, archbishop . . . . . . -559 

St Oengus, abbot-bishop . . . . . . . -559 

St Eulogius of Cordova, martyr . . . . . . .561 

St Aurea, virgin .......... 563 

Bd Christopher Macassoli ........ 563 

Bd John Baptist of Fabriano 564 

BB. John Larke, Jermyn Gardiner and John Ireland, martyrs . . 564 

St Teresa Margaret Redi, virgin . . . . . . .565 

12. St Gregory the Great, pope and doctor ...... 566 

St Maximilian, martyr ......... 571 

SS. Peter, Gorgonius and Dorotheus, martyrs ..... 573 

St Paul Aurelian, bishop . . . . . . . .574 

St Theophanes the Chronicler, abbot . . . . . .576 

St Alphege of Winchester, bishop ....... 577 

St Bernard of Capua, bishop ........ 577 

St Fina, or Seraphina, virgin ........ 577 

Bd Justina of Arezzo, virgin ........ 578 

Bd Nicholas Owen, martyr ........ 579 

13. St Euphrasia, or Eupraxia, virgin . . . . . . .581 

St Mochoemoc, abbot . . . . . . . . .583 

St Gerald of Mayo, abbot 584 

St Nicephorus of Constantinople, bishop . . . . . .584 

St Ansovinus, bishop . . . . . . . . .586 

St Heldrad, abbot 587 

SS. Roderic and Solomon, martyrs . . . . . . .588 

Bd Agnello of Pisa 589 

14. St Leobinus, or Lubin, bishop . . . . . . 591 

St Eutychius, or Eustathius, martyr 591 

St Matilda, widow ..*...... 592 

Bd James of Naples, archbishop 594 

15. St Longinus, martyr ......... 594 

St Matrona, virgin and martyr . . . . . . • 595 

St Zachary, pope .......... 596 

St Leocritia, or Lucretia, virgin and martyr 597 

Bd William Hart, martyr 597 

St Louisa de Marillac, widow . . . . . . . .598 

St Clement Hofbauer . . . . . . . . .601 

Bd Placid Riccardi (See Appendix III) 

16. St Julian of Antioch, martyr ........ 604 

St Abraham Kidunaia 605 

xxvii 


March] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

St Finnian Lobhar, abbot ........ 606 

St Eusebia, abbess ......... 607 

St Gregory Makar, bishop ........ 608 

St Heribert, archbishop ......... 608 

Bd John of Vicenza, bishop and martyr . . . . . .610 

BdTorello 611 

BB. John Amias and Robert Dalby, martyrs . . . . .612 

17. St Patrick, archbishop . . . . . . . . .612 

St Joseph of Arimathea ......... 617 

The Martyrs of the Serapeum ....... 619 

St Agricola, bishop . . . . . . . . .619 

St Gertrude of Nivelles, virgin ....... 620 

St Paul of Cyprus .......... 621 

Bd John Sarkander, martyr ........ 622 

18. St Cyril of Jerusalem, archbishop and doctor ..... 623 

St Alexander of Jerusalem, bishop and martyr ..... 626 

St Frigidian, or Frediano, bishop ....... 626 

St Edward the Martyr ......... 627 

St Anselm of Lucca, bishop ........ 628 

Bd Christian, abbot 630 

St Salvator of Horta ......... 630 

19. St Joseph 631 

St John of Panaca .......... 633 

SS. Landoald and his Companions ....... 634 

St Alcmund, martyr ......... 635 

Bd Andrew of Siena ......... 635 

20. SS. Photina and her Companions, martyrs . . . . .636 
St Martin of Braga, archbishop ....... 636 

St Cuthbert, bishop 637 

St Herbert 642 

St Wulfram, archbishop ........ 642 

The Martyrs of Mar Saba 643 

BB. Evangelist and Peregrine ........ 644 

Bd Ambrose of Siena ......... 644 

Bd John of Parma ......... 646 

Bd Maurice of Hungary ........ 647 

Bd Mark of Montegallo 648 

Bd Baptist of Mantua 649 

Bd Hippolytus Galantini ........ 650 

21. St Benedict, abbot 650 

St Serapion of Thmuis, bishop . . . . . . -655 

St Enda, abbot, and St Fanchea, virgin . . . . . .656 

Bd Santuccia, matron . . . . . . . . .657 

22. St Paul of Narbonne 657 

St Basil of Ancyra, martyr ........ 658 

St Deogratias, bishop . . . . . . . . .658 

xxviii 


CONTENTS [March 

PAGE 

Bd Isnardo of Chiampo ......... 659 

St Benvenuto of Osimo, bishop . . . . . . .659 

Bd Hugolino of Cortona ........ 660 

St Nicholas von Flue ......... 660 

23. SS. Victorian and his Companions, martyrs ..... 663 

St Benedict the Hermit 664 

St Ethelwald the Hermit 664 

Bd Peter of Gubbio 665 

Bd Sibyllina of Pavia, virgin ........ 665 

St Joseph Oriol 666 

24. St Gabriel the Archangel 667 

St Irenaeus of Sirmium, bishop and martyr ..... 668 

St Aldemar, abbot 669 

St Catherine of Vadstena, virgin . . . . . . .669 

SS. Simon of Trent and William of Norwich 671 

Bd Didacus, or Diego, of Cadiz . . . . . . .672 

25. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . . .673 

The Good Thief 676 

St Barontius 677 

St Hermenland, abbot ......... 677 

St Alfwold, bishop 678 

Bd Thomasius .......... 679 

Bd Margaret Clitherow, martyr . . . . . . .679 

Bd James Bird, martyr ......... 682 

St Lucy Filippini, virgin . . . . . . . .683 

26. St Castulus, martyr ......... 684 

St Felix of Trier, bishop 684 

St Macartan, bishop ......... 684 

St Braulio, bishop ......... 685 

St Ludger, bishop ......... 686 

St Basil the Younger 688 

27. St John Damascene, doctor ........ 689 

St John of Egypt .......... 691 

Bd William Tempier, bishop . . . . . . . .692 

28. St John of Capistrano ......... 693 

St Guntramnus .......... 695 

StTutilo 696 

29. SS. Jonas and Barachisius, martyrs ....... 696 

SS. Mark of Arethusa, bishop, and Cyril, martyr .... 697 

SS. Armogastes, Archinimus and Saturus, martyrs .... 698 

SS. Gundleus and Gwladys ........ 699 

St Rupert, bishop .......... 700 

Bd Diemoda, or Diemut, virgin . . . . . . .701 

St Berthold 701 

St Ludolf, bishop .......... 702 

xxix 


March] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

PAGE 

30. St Regulus, or Rieul, bishop ........ 702 

St John Climacus, abbot ........ 703 

St Zosimus, bishop ......... 704 

St Osburga, virgin ......... 705 

Bd Dodo 706 

Bd Amadeus IX of Savoy ........ 706 

31. St Balbina, virgin .......... 707 

St Acacius, or Achatius, bishop ....... 708 

St Benjamin, martyr ......... 709 

St Guy of Pomposa, abbot 709 

Bd Joan of Toulouse, virgin . . . . . . . .710 

Bd Bonaventure of Fori! 711 

Index ............ 713 


zxz 


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ABBREVIATIONS 

Acta Sanctorum— -This without qualification refers to the Acta Sanctorum of the 

Bollandists. 
BHG. — The Bibliotheca hagiographica graeca of the Bollandists. 
BHL. — The Bibliotheca hagiographica latina of the Bollandists. 
BHO.— -The Bibliotheca hagiographica orientalis of the Bollandists. 
Burton and Pollen, LEM. — Lives of the English Martyrs, second series, ed. E. H. 

Burton and J. H. Pollen. 
Camni, LEM. — Lives of the English Martyrs, first series, ed. Bede Camm. 
CMH. — H. Delehaye's Commentary on the Hieronymian Martyrology, in the Acta 

Sanctorum, November, volume ii, part 2. 
DAC. — Dictionnaire d* Archdologie chretienne et de Liturgie, ed. F. Cabrol and H. 

Leclercq. 
DCB.— A Dictionary of Christian Biography, ed. William Smith and Henry Wace. 
DHG. — Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Geographie eccUsiastiques, ed. A. Baudrillart et aL 
DNB. — The Dictionary of National Biography, ed. Leslie Stephen et aL 
DTC. — Dictionnaire de Thdologie catholique, ed. A. Vacant et al. 
KSS. — Kalendars of Scottish Saints, ed. A. P. Forbes. 
LBS. — Lives of the British Saints, by S. Baring-Gould and John Fisher. 
LIS. — Lives of the Irish Saints, by John O'Hanlon. 
Mabillon — Acta Sanctorum Ordinis Sancti Benedicti, ed. J. Mabillon. 
MGH. — Monumenta Germaniae Historica, ed. G. H. Pertz et aL 
MMP. — Memoirs of Missionary Priests, by Richard Challoner, referred to in the 

edition of 1924, ed. J. H. Pollen. 
PG. —Patrologia graeca, ed. J. P. Migne. 
PL. — Patrologia latina, ed. J. P. Migne. 

REPS J. — Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, ed. Henry Foley. 
Ruinart — Acta primorum martyrum sincera et selecta, ed. T. Ruinart. 
Stanton's Menology — A Menology of England and Wales, by Richard Stanton. 
VSH. — Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, ed. Charles Plummer. 

Father H. Delehaye's Les origines du culte des martyrs is referred to in the " deux- 
ieme Edition revue " of 1933. 

There is an English translation by Mrs V. M. Crawford of Father Delehaye's 
Les legendes hagiographiques (" The Legends of the Saints "), made from the first 
edition. The third French edition (1927) is revised and is therefore sometimes 
referred to. 

The English title of the work herein referred to as " L^on, V Aureole siraphique 
(Eng. trans.) " is Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of St Francis 
(1885-87), by Father Leon (Vieu) de Clary. A corrected and enlarged edition of this 
work in Italian, by Father G. C. Guzzo, began publication in 1951 : Aureola serafica. 
By 1954 four volumes had appeared, covering January- August. 

It has not been deemed necessary to give every reference to such standard works 
as the Dictionary of Christian Biography, the Dictionnaires published by Letouzey, 

xxxi 


THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

and A. Fliche and V. Martin's Histoire de VEglise, though these are often referred 
to in the bibliographical notes. The first two volumes of Fliche and Martin, by 
J. Lebreton and J. Zeiller, have been translated into English by Dr E. C. Messenger 
(The History of the Primitive Church, 4 vols.), and the first two English volumes of 
the continuation, The Church in the Christian Roman Empire, are also published. 

The reader may here be reminded once for all that for all modern saints and 
beati the surest source of information on the more strictly spiritual side is the 
summarium de virtutibus with the criticisms of the Promotor fidei which are printed 
in the process of beatification. Copies of these are occasionally to be met with in 
national or private libraries, though they are not published or offered for sale to the 
general public. And for all saints named in the Roman Martyrology the standard 
short reference is in the Acta Sanctorum, Decembris Propylaeum : Martyrologium 
Romanum ad J or mam editionis typicae scholiis historicis instructum (1940). This great 
work provides a running commentary on the entries in the Roman Martyrology, 
correcting where necessary conclusions expressed in the sixty-odd volumes of the 
Acta Sanctorum, and anticipating much that will be said at greater length in those 
volumes that have yet to appear ; and there are summary bibliographies throughout. 
It is indispensable for all serious study and reference. 

Attention may be drawn to the following recently published general works : 

R.-F. Agrain, U Hagiographie : ses sources, ses methodes, son histoire (Paris, 1953). 

Les RR. PP. Benedictins de Paris, Vies des saints et des bienheureux. January- 
December, 12 volumes. Especially the last six volumes. 

E, G. Bowen, The Settlements of the Celtic Saints in Wales (University of Wales 
Press, Cardiff, 1954). 

E. Dekkers, Clavis Patrum Latinorum (Bruges, 195 1). The best guide to the editions 
of the Fathers from Tertullian to Bede. 

J. Delorme, Chronologie des civilisations (Presses universitaires de France, 1949). 

A. Ehrhard (continued by Fr Heseler), Ueberlieferung und Bestand der hagio- 
graphischen und homiletischen Literatur der griechischen Kirche. Three volumes 
in Texte und Untersuchungen (Leipzig, 1 937-1 943). 

E. Griffe, La Gaule chretienne a Vepoque romaine, volume i (Paris, 1947). From 

the beginning to the end of the fourth century. 
A. Hamann, La Geste du sang (Paris, 1953). Translations of authentic texts of 

passions of the martyrs. 
R. Janin, Les eglises et les monasteres (de Constantinople), volume iii in La Geographie 

ecclesiastique de V empire byzantin, Part I (Paris, 1954). Important for cultus 

and relics of saints. 
Menologium cisterciense a monachis ordinis cisterciensis strictioris observantiae com- 

positum . . . (Westmalle, 1952). 
And also, in relation to particular places in France, the work of J. Hubert and 

F. Benoit (Aries), M. de Laugardiere (Bourges), J. de La Martiniere (Orleans), 
J. Perrin (Sens) and, especially, Rene Louis (Auxerre). In the Revue d'histoire 
ecclesiastique (Louvain) the pertinent reviews of books and also the bibliographies (in 
a separate supplement) are particularly valuable. 


xxxn 


BUTLER'S 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS 


{M~Y~Y^T)rrYSi 



JANUARY 



1 : OCTAVE OF BIRTH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST 

CIRCUMCISION was a sacrament of the Old Law, and the first legal 
observance required by Almighty God of that people which He had chosen 
preferably to all the nations of the earth to be the depositary of His revealed 
truths. These were the descendants of Abraham, upon whom He had enjoined it 
several hundred years before the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. And 
this on two accounts : First, as a distinguishing mark between them and the rest of 
mankind. Secondly, as a seal to a covenant between God and that patriarch : 
whereby it was stipulated on God's part to bless Abraham and his posterity ; 
whilst on their part it implied a holy engagement to be His people, by a strict con- 
formity to His laws. It was therefore a sacrament of initiation in the service of 
God, and a promise and engagement to believe and act as He had revealed and 
directed. 

This law of circumcision continued in force till the death of Christ : hence, our 
Saviour being born under the law, it became Him, who came to teach mankind 
obedience to the laws of God, to fulfil all justice and to submit to it. Therefore, 
He was " made under the law " — that is, was circumcised — that He might redeem 
them that were under the law, by freeing them from the servitude of it : and that 
those who were in the condition of servants before might be set at liberty, and 
receive the adoption of sons in baptism, which by Christ's institution succeeded to 
circumcision. On the day He was circumcised He received the name of Jesus, the 
same which had been appointed Him by the angel before He was conceived. The 
reason of His being called Jesus is mentioned in the gospel : " For He shall save 
His people from their sins." This He effected by the greatest sufferings and 
humiliations, humbling Himself, as St Paul says, not only unto death, but even to 
the death of the cross ; for which cause God hath exalted Him, and hath given Him 
a name which is above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow ; 
agreeably to what Christ says of Himself, ' ' All power is given unto Me in heaven 
and in earth ". 

Considered liturgically, three, if not four, distinct elements may be recognized 
in the festival which the Church keeps on the first day of each year. It is, to begin 
with, the octave of Christmas, and — possibly as a consequence of this — a special 
commemoration is made of the Virgin Mother whose pre-eminent share in the 
mystery could not adequately be recognized on the feast itself. Secondly, our 
ancient mass-books and other documents preserve many traces of the observance 
of the day in a spirit of penance, seemingly to protest against and atone for the 
debaucheries and other excesses customary among pagans at the outset of the new 
year. Thirdly, the eighth day after birth was the day when our Infant Saviour 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

was circumcised, an incident pregnant with significance which called for suitable 
celebration on its own account. 

So far as our liturgical evidence goes the earliest recognition of the feast is to 
be found in the Lectionary of Victor of Capua. This, which bears witness to the 
usage of southern Italy in the year 546, has an entry De circumcisione Domini, and 
indicates as a reading for that day the passage from St Paul to the Romans (xv. 4-14) 
in which our Lord is spoken of as " Minister of the circumcision for the truth of 
God to confirm the promises made to the fathers ". Only a very little later we find 
in the 17th canon of the second Council of Tours (a.d. 567) a statement that from 
Christmas to the Epiphany each day was treated as a feast except that triduum 
(apparently from January 1 to January 3) "during which our fathers, to stamp out the 
custom of the pagans, imposed a private celebration of litanies on the first of January, 
in order that psalmody might be carried on in the churches, and that on the day itself 
Mass of the Circumcision might be offered to God at the eighth hour ". Here, 
besides the reference to the Mass of the Circumcision, all the associations of the 
word litaniae were distinctly connected by the usage of the times with penitential 
practices. Further, in the archetype of the martyrology known as the Hieronym- 
ianum, which dates from about the year 600, the Circumcision is again mentioned, 
and this is also the case with the majority of the calendars, martyrologies, lectionaries 
and other service-books of the seventh and following centuries. Although in the 
present Roman liturgy no trace remains of the early efforts made to wean Christian 
converts from taking part in the pagan idolatries and debaucheries which ushered 
in the new year, still the so-called " Gelasian " sacramentaries, more or less modified 
by the uses which prevailed in Gaul, Germany and Spain, constantly provide a 
second Mass for this day which is headed " ad prohibendum ab idolis " — i.e. against 
idolatrous practices. In this Mass all the prayers echoed the petition that those 
who had been brought to the pure worship of the Christian farth might have the 
courage utterly to turn their backs upon the old, profane and evil ways of paganism. 
It is to be noted that even before any special church celebration can be connected 
with new year's day, we find St Augustine, in a sermon preached on that morning, 
exhorting his hearers to behave as Christians amid the excesses of their gentile 
neighbours at that season. 

It is certain, then, that a wish to rescue the weaker members of the Christian 
community from the contamination of the new-year celebrations played a great part 
in the institution of a church festival on that day. St Augustine's words suggest 
that he realized how hopeless it was to impose a general fast upon an occasion which 
was a holiday for the rest of the world. Ordinary human nature would have rebelled 
if too much had been exacted of it. All that could be done in practice was to carry 
out the principles enunciated by such wise pastors as St Gregory Thaumaturgus 
and St Gregory the Great, that when pagan observances were ineradicably fixed in 
the customs of a people, the evil must be neutralized by establishing a Christian 
celebration in place of the heathen one. On the whole it would seem that outside 
Rome — in Gaul, Germany, Spain, and even at Milan and in the south of Italy — an 
effort was made to exalt the mystery of the Circumcision in the hope that it might 
fill the popular mind and win the revellers from their pagan superstitions. In 
Rome itself, however, there is no trace of any reference to the Circumcision until a 
relatively late period. What our actual missal preserves for us, even down to the 
present day, is a liturgy which, while echoing, as the octave naturally would, the 
sentiments proper to Christmas, refers in a very marked way to the Mother of God, 


ST. ALMACHIUS, OR TELEMACHUS [January i 

e.g. in the collect for the feast. How comes it that our Lady is thus appealed to on 
the first day of the year ? This may, as mentioned above, be simply the result of 
her intimate connection with the mystery of the Incarnation, but there is some 
evidence that the liturgy for to-day represents the service for the octave of Christmas 
as solemnized in the ancient Roman basilica of our Lady, Old St Mary's (cf. D. 
Biinner in the bibliography). But whether or not a feast of special solemnity was 
observed on January i in this ancient church to serve as an antidote to pagan licence, 
it is unfortunately certain that the expedient was only partially successful, and that 
the riotous excesses of the season still survived in the " Feast of Fools " and other 
abuses, against which the better sort of ecclesiastics protested throughout the 
middle ages, but often protested in vain. 

See Abbot Cabrol, Les origines liturgiques (1906), pp. 203-210 ; also in the Revue du 
clerge franfais, January, 1906, pp. 262 seq., and in DAC, s.v. " Circoncision " ; F. Biinger, 
Geschithte der Neujahrsfeier in der Kirche (1909) ; D. Biinner, " La fete ancienne de la 
Circoncision ", in La Vie et les Arts Liturgiques, January, 1924 ; G. Morin in Anecdota 
Maredsolana, vol. i, pp. 426-428. See also Mansi, Concilia, vol. ix, p. 796 ; Maasen, 
Concilia Merov., p. 126 ; St Augustine, sermon 198 in Migne, PL., vol. xxxviii, c. 1025 \ 
and W. de Griineisen, Ste Marie Antique, pp. 94, 493. There occurs above a reference to 
the Hieronymianum, which will be frequently mentioned in these notes. The " Martyrology 
of Jerome ", so called because it was erroneously attributed to St Jerome, was the foundation 
of all similar Western calendars of martyrs and other saints. It was compiled in Italy during 
the second half of the fifth century : the archetype on which all existing manuscripts of it 
are based is a recension made in Gaul about the year 600. Father Delehaye's Commentary 
on the Hieronymianum (CMH) is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, November, vol. ii, part 2. 

ST CONCORDIUS, Martyr (c. a.d. 178) 

A subdeacon who, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, was apprehended in the desert, 
and brought before Torquatus, governor of Umbria, then residing at Spoleto. 
The martyr, paying no regard to promises or threats, in the first interrogatory was 
beaten with clubs, and in the second was stretched on the rack, but in the height of 
his torments he cheerfully sang, " Glory be to thee, Lord Jesus ! " Three days 
after, two soldiers were sent by Torquatus to behead him in the dungeon, unless he 
would offer sacrifice to an idol, which a priest who accompanied them carried with 
him for this purpose. The saint showed his indignation by spitting upon the idol, 
upon which one of the soldiers struck off his head. 

See his acts in the Acta Sanctorum, January I ; and Tillemont, Memoires . . ., vol. ii, 
P- 439- 

ST ALMACHIUS, or TELEMACHUS, Martyr (c. a.d. 400) 

All that we know of this interesting martyr is derived from two brief notices, the 
one contained in the Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret (bk v, c. 26), the other in 
the ancient " Martyrology of Jerome " referred to in the note above. In the 
first we read that the Emperor Honorius abolished the gladiatorial combats of the 
arena in consequence of the following incident : "An ascetic named Telemachus 
had come from the East to Rome animated with a holy purpose. Whilst the 
abominable games were in progress he entered the stadium and, going down into 
the arena, attempted to separate the combatants. The spectators of this cruel 
pastime were infuriated, and at the instigation of Satan, who delights in blood, they 
stoned to death the messenger of peace. On hearing what had happened the 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

excellent emperor had him enrolled in the glorious company of martyrs, and put 
an end to these criminal sports." 

In the Hieronymianum the notice, preserved to the present day in the Roman 
Martyrology, reads : " January ist . . . the feast of Almachius, who, when he said 
' To-day is the octave day of the Lord, cease from the superstitions of idols and 
from polluted sacrifices \ was slain by gladiators at the command of Alipius, prefect 
of the city." As against Dom Germain Morin, who is inclined to regard this 
alleged martyrdom as only an echo of the fantastic legend of the dragon of the 
Roman Forum, Father H. Delehaye, the Bollandist, believes the incident to be 
historical, and, in spite of certain difficulties, considers that the martyr's name was 
really Almachius, and that he perished about a.d. 400. 

See Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxxiii (1914), pp. 421-428. Cf. Morin, in Revue Bene- 
dictine, vol. xxxi (1914), pp. 321-326, and CMH., p. 21. 

ST EUPHROSYNE, Virgin (Fifth Century ?) 

The Greeks call St Euphrosyne " Our Mother ", and pay her great honour, but 
we have no authentic accounts of her life. Her so-called history is nothing but a 
replica of the story of St Pelagia, as narrated for Western readers in the Vitae Patrum 
or in the Golden Legend, a tale which struck the popular fancy and which, with 
slight variations, was adapted as an embellishment to the lives of St Marina, St 
Apollinaris, St Theodora, etc. 

According to this fiction, St Euphrosyne was the daughter of Paphnutius, a 
pious and wealthy citizen of Alexandria. He and his wife had long been childless, 
but Euphrosyne was born to them in answer to the prayers of a holy monk whose 
intercession they had sought. The little girl was fascinating and marvellously 
beautiful, and because of the joy she caused to her parents they named her Euph- 
rosyne. When she was eleven, her mother died. Her father set about finding her 
a husband and affianced her to a young man of great wealth. At first she does not 
seem to have objected, but after an interview with the old monk who had prayed for 
her before her birth, she began to feel the call to a higher life and ceased to care for 
the things of this world. She tore of! her jewellery and gave it away to the poor, 
she avoided young people of her own age, consorting only with pious, elderly 
women, and, in order to make herself less attractive, we are told that she ceased 
washing her face " even with cold water ". All this seems to have made no 
impression on her father, who went off to a three days' retreat in honour of the holy 
founder of a monastery of which he was a benefactor. As soon as he was gone, 
Euphrosyne sent a servant she could trust to ask for an interview w r ith the old monk. 
She told him how she felt, and he replied that our Lord had said that if anyone 
would not leave father, mother, brothers and everything for the kingdom of 
Heaven's sake, he could not be His disciple. She then confessed that she feared 
to anger her father, as she was the only heir to his property. The monk answered 
that her father could find as many heirs as he wanted among the poor and the sick. 
Finally she asked him to give her the veil — which he did then and there. 

When the interview was over, and Euphrosyne began to think matters out, she 
came to the conclusion that she could not count upon being safe from her father in 
any nunnery in that country, for he would be sure to find her and carry her off by 
force. She therefore secretly changed into man's attire and slipped out of the house 
by night — her father being still away. She found her way to the very monastery 


ST EUGENDUS, OR OYEND [January i 

her father frequented, and asked for the superior, who was surprised to see this 
exceptionally beautiful youth. Euphrosyne told him that her name was Smaragdus, 
that she had been attached to the court but had fled from the distractions of the city 
and the intrigues of the courtiers, and that she now desired to spend her life in peace 
and prayer. The abbot was greatly edified and offered to receive her if she would 
submit to the direction of an elder to teach her the discipline of the religious life — - 
she being evidently quite inexperienced. She replied that, far from objecting to 
one, she would welcome many masters to teach her the way of perfection. No one 
ever suspected her sex, and she soon gave proof of extraordinary progress in virtue. 
She had many trials and temptations, but she overcame them all. Because her 
beauty and charm were a cause of distraction to the other monks, she retired to a 
solitary cell where she saw only those who desired her advice. Her fame for holi- 
ness and wisdom spread far and wide, and after a time her father, in his despair at 
losing her, asked leave to consult this venerated ascetic, Smaragdus. She recog- 
nized him, but he did not know her, since her face was almost hidden and she was 
much changed by her austerities. She gave him spiritual consolation, but did not 
make herself known to him till she was on her death-bed many years later. After 
her death, her father Paphnutius retired from the world and inhabited her cell for 
ten years. 

See Delehaye, Les legendes hagiographiques (1927), pp. 18Q-192, and Quentin, Les mar- 
tyrologes historiques, pp. 165-166. Although a commemoration of St Euphrosyne appears 
in the Roman Martyrology under January 1, and the Carmelites claim her as belonging to 
their order and keep her feast on January 2, there is the gravest reason to doubt whether such 
a person ever existed. No local cultus exists in this case to which we can trace the origin 
of the legend. In the Greek synaxaries she is commemorated on September 25, and in the 
majority of the Latin martyrologies her elogium occurs on January 1 ; but in the Acta 
Sanctorum her story is given on February 11. A Greek life is printed in the Analecta 
Bollandiana, vol. ii, pp. 196-205, and the Latin versions are catalogued in BHL., nn. 2722- 
2726. The atmosphere of all these is decidedly one of pure romance. At the same time 
there do seem to be authentic cases of women hiding themselves in male attire in monasteries 
and remaining for a while undetected. There is more or less contemporary evidence that 
this was done by the girl " llildegund ", who died in the Cistercian abbey of Schonau on 
April 20, 1 188 ; but the question of her sanctity is another matter. 

ST EUGENDUS, or OYEND, Abbot (r. a.d. 510) 

After the death of the brothers St Romanus and St Lupicinus, founders of the 
abbey of Condat, under whose discipline he had been educated from the age of 
seven, Eugendus became coadjutor to Minausius, their immediate successor, and 
soon after, upon his demise, abbot of that famous monastery. His life was most 
austere, and he was so dead to himself as to seem incapable of betraying the least 
emotion of anger. His countenance was always cheerful ; yet he never laughed. 
He was well skilled in Greek and Latin and in the Holy Scriptures, and a great 
promoter of studies in his monastery, but no importunities could prevail upon him 
to consent to be ordained priest. In the lives of the first abbots of Condat it is 
mentioned that the monastery, which was built by St Romanus of timber, being 
consumed by fire, St Eugendus rebuilt it of stone ; and also that he built a hand- 
some church in honour of SS. Peter, Paul and Andrew. His prayer was almost 
continual, and his devotion most ardent during his last illness. Having called the 
priest among his brethren to whom he had committed the office of anointing the 
sick, Eugendus caused him to anoint his breast according to the custom then 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

prevalent, and he breathed forth his soul five days after, about the year 510, and of 
his age sixty-one.* The great abbey of Condat, seven leagues from Geneva, 
received from this saint the name of Saint-Oyend, till in the thirteenth century it 
exchanged it for that of Saint-Claude, after the bishop of Besancon who is honoured 
on June 6. 

See the life of St Eugendus by a contemporary and disciple of his, which has been critically 
edited in modern times by Bruno Krusch in the MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. iii, pp. 
154-166. Krusch, in his introduction and in a paper on " La falsification des vies des saints 
burgondes " in Melanges Julien Havet, pp. 39-56, pronounces this life to be a forgery 
of much later date ; but Mgr L. Duchesne, in Melanges d'archeologie et d'histoire (1898), 
vol. xviii, pp. 3-16, has successfully vindicated its authenticity and trustworthiness. 

ST FULGENTIUS, Bishop of Ruspe (a.d. 533) 

Fabius Claudius Gordianus Fulgentius was the descendant of a noble senatorial 
family of Carthage, born in 468, about thirty years after the Vandals had dismem- 
bered Africa from the Roman empire. He was educated with his younger brother 
under the care of his mother Mariana, who was left a young widow. Being by her 
particular direction taught Greek very young, he spoke it with as proper and exact 
an accent as if it had been his native language. He also applied himself to Latin ; 
yet he knew how to mingle business with study, for he took upon himself the ad- 
ministration of the family concerns in order to ease his mother of the burden. His 
prudence, his virtuous conduct, his mild carriage to all, and more especially his 
deference for his mother caused him to be respected wherever his name was known. 
He was chosen procurator — that is, lieutenant-governor and general receiver of the 
taxes of Byzacena. But it was not long before he grew disgusted with the world ; 
and being justly alarmed at its dangers, he armed himself against them by reading, 
prayer and severe fasts. His visits to monasteries were frequent ; and happening 
to read a sermon of St Augustine on the thirty-sixth psalm, in which that saint treats 
of the world and the short duration of human life, he felt within him strong desires 
of embracing the monastic state. 

Huneric, the Arian king, had driven most of the orthodox bishops from their 
sees. One of these, named Faustus, had founded a monastery in Byzacena. It 
was to him that the young nobleman addressed himself; but Faustus, taking 
exception to the weakness of his constitution, discouraged his desires with words 
of some harshness : " Go ", said he, " and first learn to live in the world abstracted 
from its pleasures. Who can suppose that you, on a sudden relinquishing a life of 
ease, can put up with our coarse diet and clothing, and can inure yourself to our 
watchings and fastings ? " Fulgentius modestly replied that, " He who hath 
inspired me with the will to serve Him can also furnish me with courage and 
strength." This humble yet resolute answer induced Faustus to admit him on 
trial. The saint was then in the twenty-second year of his age. The news of so 
unthought of an event both surprised and edified the whole country ; but Mariana, 
his mother, ran to the monastery, crying out at the gates, " Faustus ! restore to me 
my son, and to the people their governor. The Church protects widows ; why, 
then, rob you me, a desolate widow, of my son ? " Nothing that Faustus could 

* The rich abbey of Saint-Claude gave rise to a considerable town built about it, which 
was made an episcopal see by Pope Benedict XIV in 1748, who, secularizing the monastery, 
converted it into a cathedral. The canons to gain admittance were required to give proof 
of their nobility for sixteen degrees, eight paternal and as many maternal. 

6 


ST FULGENTIUS [January 1 

urge was sufficient to calm her. This was certainly as great a trial of Fulgentius's 
resolution as it could well be put to ; but Faustus approved his vocation, and 
accordingly recommended him to the brethren. But soon, persecution breaking 
out anew, Faustus was obliged to withdraw ; and our saint repaired to a neigh- 
bouring monastery, of which Felix, the abbot, would fain resign to him the govern- 
ment. Fulgentius was much startled at the proposal, but at length was prevailed 
upon to consent that they should jointly execute the functions of superior. It 
was admirable to observe with what harmony these two holy abbots for six 
years governed the house. No contradiction ever took place between them : each 
always contended to comply with the will of his colleague. Felix undertook the 
management of the temporal concerns ; Fulgentius's province was to preach and 
instruct. 

In the year 499, the country being ravaged by an irruption of the Numidians, 
the two abbots were compelled to fly to Sicca Veneria, a city of the proconsular 
province of Africa. Here it was that an Arian priest ordered them to be arrested 
and scourged on account of their preaching the consubstantiality of the Son of God. 
Felix, seeing the executioners seize first on Fulgentius, cried out, " Spare that poor 
brother of mine, who is too delicate for your brutalities : let them rather be my 
portion, who am strong of body." They accordingly fell on Felix first, and the old 
man endured their stripes with unflinching resolution. When it was Fulgentius's 
turn he bore the lashes patiently enough ; but feeling the pain excessive, that he 
might gain a little respite he requested his judge to give ear to something he had to 
impart to him. The executioners being commanded to desist, he began to dis- 
course pleasantly of his travels. The cruel fanatic had expected an offer to surrender 
on terms, but finding himself disappointed he ordered the torments to be redoubled. 
At length the confessors were dismissed, their clothes rent, their bodies inhumanly 
torn, their beards and hair plucked out. The very Arians were ashamed of such 
cruelty, and their bishop offered to punish the priest if Fulgentius would undertake 
his prosecution. His answer was that a Christian is never allowed to seek revenge, 
and that a blessing is promised for the forgiveness of injuries. Fulgentius went 
aboard a ship bound for Alexandria, wishing to visit the deserts of Egypt, renowned 
for the sanctity of the solitaries who dwelt there. But the vessel touching at Sicily, 
Eulalius, abbot at Syracuse, diverted him from his intended voyage by assuring him 
that " a perfidious dissension had severed that country from the communion of 
Peter ", meaning that Egypt was full of heretics, with whom those who dwelt there 
were obliged either to join in communion, or be deprived of the sacraments. 

Fulgentius, having laid aside the thought of visiting Alexandria, embarked for 
Rome, to offer up his prayers at the tombs of the apostles. One day he saw 
Theodoric, the king of Italy, enthroned in state, surrounded by the senate and his 
court. " Ah ! " said Fulgentius, " how beautiful must the heavenly Jerusalem be, 
if earthly Rome is so glorious ! What glory will God bestow on the saints in 
Heaven, since here He clothes with such splendour the lovers of vanity ! " This 
happened towards the latter part of the year 500, when that king made his first 
entry into Rome. Fulgentius returned home shortly after, and built a spacious 
monastery in Byzacena, but retired himself to a cell beside the seashore. Faustus, 
his bishop, obliged him to resume the government of his monastery ; and many 
places at the same time sought him for their bishop, for King Thrasimund having 
prohibited by edict the ordination of orthodox bishops, several sees had long been 
vacant. Among these was Ruspe, now a little place called Kudiat Rosfa in Tunisia. 


January j] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

For this see St Fulgentius was drawn out of his retreat and consecrated bishop in 
508. m m m 

His new dignity made no alteration in his manners. He never wore the orarium, 
a kind of stole then used by bishops, nor other clothes than his usual coarse garb, 
which was the same in winter and summer. He went sometimes barefoot ; he 
never undressed to take rest, and always rose for prayer before the midnight office. 
It was only when ill that he suffered a little wine to be mingled with the water which 
he drank ; and he never could be prevailed upon to eat flesh-meat. His modesty, 
meekness and humility gained him the affections of all, even of an ambitious deacon 
Felix, who had opposed his election and whom the saint treated with cordial charity. 
His love of retirement induced him to build a monastery near his house at Ruspe ; 
but before the building could be completed, orders were issued from King Thrasi- 
mund for his banishment to Sardinia, with others, to the number of sixty orthodox 
bishops. Fulgentius, though the youngest of the band, was their oracle when in 
doubt and their tongue and pen upon all occasions. Pope St Symmachus, out of 
his fatherly charity, sent every year provisions in money and clothes to these 
champions of Christ. A letter of this pope to them is still extant, in which he en- 
courages and comforts them ; and it was at the same time that he sent them certain 
relics of SS. Nazarius and Romanus, " that the example and patronage (patrocinia)" 
as he expresses it, " of those generous soldiers of Christ might animate the confessors 
to fight valiantly the battles of the Lord ". 

St Fulgentius with some companions converted a house at Cagliari into a 
monastery, which immediately became the resort of all in affliction and of all who 
sought counsel. In this retirement the saint composed many learned treatises for 
the instruction of the faithful in Africa. King Thrasimund, hearing that he was 
their principal support and advocate, sent for him. The Arian king then drew up 
a set of objections, to which he required his answer ; the saint complied with the 
demand : and this is supposed to be his book entitled An Answer to Ten Objections. 
The king admired his humility and learning, and the orthodox triumphed in the 
advantage their cause gained by this rejoinder. To prevent the same effect a second 
time, the king, when he sent him new objections, ordered them to be only read to 
him. Fulgentius refused to give answers in writing unless he was allowed to take 
a copy of them. He addressed, however, to the king an ample and modest con- 
futation of Arianism, which we have under the title of his Three Books to King 
Thrasimund. The prince was pleased with the work, and granted him permission 
to reside at Carthage till, upon repeated complaints from the Arian bishops of the 
success of his preaching, he was sent back to Sardinia in 520. Being ready to go 
aboard the ship, he said to a Catholic whom he saw weeping, " Grieve not ; I shall 
shortly return, and we shall see the true faith of Christ flourish again in this kingdom 
with full liberty ; but divulge not this secret to any." The event confirmed the 
truth of the prediction. His humility concealed the multiplicity of miracles which 
he wrought ; and he was wont to say, " A person may be endowed with the gift of 
miracles, and yet may lose his soul. Miracles insure not salvation ; they may 
indeed procure esteem and applause ; but what will it avail a man to be esteemed 
on earth and afterwards be delivered up to torments ? " Having returned to 
Cagliari, he erected a new monastery near that city, and was careful to supply his 
monks with all necessaries, especially in sickness ; but would not suffer them to ask 
for anything, alleging that " We ought to receive all things as from the hand of God, 
with resignation and gratitude ". 

8 


ST FELIX OF BOURGES [January i 

King Thrasimund died in 523, having nominated Hilderic his successor, and in 
Africa the professors of the true faith called home their pastors. The ship which 
brought them back was received at Carthage with great demonstrations of joy, more 
particularly when Fulgentius appeared on the upper-deck of the vessel. The 
confessors went straight to the church of St Agileus to return thanks to God ; on 
their way, being surprised by a sudden storm, the people, to show their singular 
regard for Fulgentius, made a kind of umbrella over his head with their cloaks to 
defend him from the downpour. The saint hastened to Ruspe and immediately 
set about reforming the abuses that had crept in during the seventy years of perse- 
cution ; but this reformation was carried on with a sweetness that won sooner or 
later the hearts of the most obdurate. St Fulgentius had a wonderful gift of oratory ; 
and Boniface, Archbishop of Carthage, never heard him without tears, thanking 
God for having given so great a pastor to His Church. 

About a year before his death, Fulgentius retired into a monastery on the little 
island called Circinia to prepare himself for his passage to eternity. The impor- 
tunities of his flock, however, recalled him to Ruspe a little before the end. He 
bore the pain of his last illness with admirable patience, having this prayer almost 
always upon his lips : " Lord, grant me patience now, and hereafter mercy and 
pardon." The physicians advised him to take baths, to whom he answered, " Can 
baths make a mortal man escape death, when his life has reached its term ? " 
Summoning his clergy and monks, who were all in tears, he begged their forgiveness 
if he had ever offended any one of them ; he comforted them, gave them some 
moving instructions, and calmly breathed forth his soul in the year 533, of his 
age the sixty-fifth, on January 1, on which day his name occurs in many 
calendars. In some few 7 churches his feast is kept on May 16, perhaps the day 
on which his relics were translated, about 714, to Bourges, in France, where they 
were destroyed in the Revolution. The veneration for his virtues was such that he 
was interred within the church, contrary to the law and custom of that age, as is 
remarked by the author of his life. St Fulgentius had chosen the great St 
Augustine for his model ; and as a true disciple, imitated him in his conduct, 
faithfully imbibing his spirit and expounding his doctrine. 

There is a trustworthy biography of this saint, written by a contemporary, whom many 
believe to have been his disciple, Fulgentius Ferrandus. It has been printed in the Acta 
Sanctorum, January 1, and elsewhere. See the important work of G. G. Lapeyre, *S/ Fulgence 
de Ruspe (1929), which includes the vita in a separate volume. For an account of the theo- 
logical and controversial writings of St Fulgentius reference may be made to Bardenhewer's 
Patrolony, pp. 616-618 in the English translation (1908) or to DTC, vol. vi, cc. 968 seq. 
See also Abbot Chapman in the Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. vi, pp. 316-317 ; and Dr H. R. 
Reynolds in DCB., vol. ii, pp. 576-583. 

ST FELIX, Bishop of Bourges (c. a.d. 580) 

Not very much is known of this saint, but there can be no doubt regarding his 
historical existence or the veneration in which he was held by his contemporaries. 
St Germanus of Paris officiated at his consecration ; we cannot be sure of the exact 
date. St Felix took part in the Council of Paris (a.d. 573), and Venantius Fortun- 
atus addressed a little poem to him commending a golden pyx (turris) which he had 
had made for the reservation of the Eucharist. St Felix is commemorated in the 
diocese of Bourges on January 1, but the year of his death cannot be accurately 
determined. His tomb was in the church of St Austregisilus de Castro, outside the 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

city walls. Twelve years after his death, as we learn from Gregory of Tours, the 
slab covering his remains was replaced by another of more precious material. The 
body was then found to be perfectly free from corruption, and numerous cures are 
said to have been obtained by those who drank water in which some of the dust of 
the old crumbling slab had been mingled. 

See Duchesne, Fastes episcopaux de Vancienne Gaule, vol. ii (1900), p. 28. Venantius 
Fortunatus, Carmina, bk iii, no. 25 (Migne, PL., vol. Ixxxviii, c. 473 ; in the text edited for 
MGH. by F. Leo this poem is printed as bk iii, no. 20) ; and Gregory of Tours, In gloria 
confessorutn, c. 102, in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. i. 

ST CLARUS, Abbot (c. a.d. 660) 

St Clarus, whose name was given him in his youth from his " brightness ", not 
so much in human learning as in his perception of the things of God, is believed to 
have been made abbot of the monastery of St Marcellus at Vienne in Dauphine, 
early in the seventh century. A Latin life, which must be more than a hundred 
years later in date, relates many marvellous stories of the miracles he worked,* but 
it is probably trustworthy when it tells us that Clarus was first a monk in the abbey 
of St Ferreol, that he was highly esteemed by Cadeoldus, Archbishop of Vienne, 
that he was made spiritual director of the convent of St Blandina, where his own 
mother and other widows took the veil, and that he ended his days (January 1, 
c. 660) as abbot of St Marcellus. His cultus was confirmed in 1903. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January i, and M. Blanc, Vie et culte de S. Clair (2 vols., 1898). 

ST PETER OF ATROA, Abbot (a.d. 837) 

A life of St Peter of Atroa, who was born in 773 near Ephesus, was written by one 
of his own disciples and is still extant. It goes into some detail, but is principally 
made up of edifying anecdotes of no great interest, particulars of the saint's numer- 
ous journeys and, above all, accounts of his even more numerous miracles. 

He was the eldest of three children, and was christened Theophylact, and nobody 
was surprised when, at the age of eighteen, he decided to be a monk. Directed, it 
is said, by the All-holy Mother of God, he joined St Paul the Hesychast (Recluse) 
at his hermitage at Crypta in Phrygia, who clothed Theophylact with the holy habit 
and gave him the name of Peter. Immediately after his ordination to the priest- 
hood at Zygos some years later, at the very door of the church, there happened the 
first wonder recorded of him, when he cured a man possessed by an unclean spirit. 

Shortly afterwards St Peter accompanied his spiritual father on his first pil- 
grimage, when they directed their steps towards Jerusalem ; but God in a vision 
turned them aside, telling them to go to the Bithynian Olympus, where St Paul was 
to establish a monastery at the chapel of St Zachary on the edge of the Atroa. This 
accordingly was done, the monastery flourished, and before his death in 805 Paul 
named Peter as his successor. He was then thirty-two years old, and the access 
of responsibility made him redouble his fervour and his extreme austerities. 

The monastery continued to flourish for another ten years, when St Peter 
decided to disperse his community in the face of the persecution by the Emperor 

* It is perhaps desirable to remind the reader once for all that only Almighty God can 
do miracles. The use of the above and similar expressions is permissible by custom, but 
in fact the miracle is done by God through the agency or at the intercession of the saint 
concerned. 

IO 


ST PETER OF ATROA [January i 

Leo the Armenian of those who upheld the orthodox doctrine concerning the 
veneration of images. Peter himself went first to Ephesus and then to Cyprus ; on 
his return, at a conference of some of his refugee brethren, he escaped arrest by 
imperial troops only by making himself invisible. Then, with one companion, 
Brother John, he continued his wanderings and visited his home, where his brother 
Christopher and his widowed mother received the monastic habit at his hands. He 
tried to settle down as a recluse in several places, one of which was Kalonoros, The 
Beautiful Mountain, at the end of the Hellespont ; but so great was his reputation 
as a wonder-worker and reader of consciences that he was never left in peace for 
long. But at Kalonoros he remained for some years, making journeys about 
western Asia Minor from time to time, each of which was starred with miracles. 

The death of Leo the Armenian in 820 made for a little more tranquillity in the 
Church, and with the stimulus of persecution taken away for a time the pettiness of 
small minds reasserted itself. Certain bishops and abbots, jealous of his popularity 
and his miracles, accused St Peter of practising magic and of casting out devils by 
the power of Beelzebub. When they refused to listen to his modest expostulations, 
Peter decided to seek the advice of St Theodore Studites, who was living in exile 
with some of his monks at Kreskentios, on the gulf of Nicomedia. When he had 
made careful enquiry and questioned Peter closely, St Theodore wrote a letter (it 
can be found in his works) to all the monks around Mount Olympus, declaring that 
the conduct and doctrine of Peter of Atroa were irreproachable and that he was as 
good a monk as could be found. The detractors were thus rebuked, and the 
vindicated Peter returned to Kalonoros. 

He then undertook the restoration of St Zachary's and the reorganization of two 
other monastei ies that he had established, taking up his own residence in a hermit- 
age at Atroa. But a few years later the Iconoclast troubles began again and, the 
local bishop being an opponent of images, Peter judged it wise once more to disperse 
his monks to more remote houses. He was only just in time, for soon after the 
bishop came to St Zachary's with the intention of driving them out and arresting 
those who resisted. St Peter, meanwhile, having seen his community safely housed 
elsewhere, stayed for a period with a famous recluse called James, near the Monas- 
tery of the Eunuchs on Mount Olympus. It was while staying here that he 
miraculously cured of a fever St Paul, Bishop of Prusias, who had been driven from 
his see by the image-breakers : the instrument of the bishop's cure was a good 
square meal. 

Persecution becoming more envenomed in Lydia, Peter and James retired to 
the monastery of St Porphyrios on the Hellespont, but soon after St Peter decided 
to go back to Olympus to visit his friend St Joannicius at Balea, from whence he 
returned to his hermitage at St Zachary's. A few weeks later St Joannicius had a 
vision : he seemed to be talking with Peter of Atroa, at the foot of a mountain whose 
crest reached to the heavenly courts ; and as they talked, two shining figures 
appeared who, taking Peter one by each arm, bore him away upwards in a halo of 
glory. At the same moment, in the church of St Zachary's, while the monks were 
singing the night office with their abbot on a bed of sickness in the choir, death came 
to St Peter of Atroa, after he had lovingly addressed his brethren for the last time. 
It was January 1, 837. 

There seems to have been no liturgical cultus of St Peter of Atroa, but it is nevertheless 
curious that his contemporary biography should have been ignored or overlooked by hagio- 
logists for so long. As is said above, it is largely taken up with the saint's miracles, but it is 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

interesting as a good specimen of ninth-century Byzantine hagiography and for what it tells 
of monastic life during the Iconoclast troubles. Rescuing the manuscript " from wherever 
the caprice of the learned had^hidden it ", as Fr V. Laurent puts it, Fr B. Menthon published 
a translation in L'Unite de UEglise, nos. 60 and 71 (1934-35), as one chapter from his work 
on Les moines de VOlympe. Father Menthon was pastor of the Latin Catholics at Brusa, and 
had an intimate knowledge of the topography and archaeology of the neighbouring mountain, 
where scanty ruins of St Peter's monastery of St Zachary, and of numerous others, can still 
be seen. 

ST WILLIAM OF SAINT BENIGNUS, Abbot (a.d. 103 i) 

St William, who must be regarded as one of the remarkable men of his age, was 
born in the castle of the island of San Giuglio, near Novara, in 962, at the very 
time when this stronghold was being defended by his father, Count Robert of 
Volpiano, against the besieging forces of the Emperor Otto. The garrison was 
eventually forced to capitulate upon honourable terms, and the emperor and his 
consort, laying aside all resentment, acted as sponsors to the newly-born infant. 
He was educated in a monastery, and later became a monk at Locadio, near Vercelli. 
In 987 he met St Majolus, and followed him to join the already famous abbey over 
which the latter ruled at Cluny. The Cluniac reform was then rapidly extending 
its sphere of influence, and William, after being sent for a while to reorganize the 
monastery of Saint-Sernin on the Rhone, was finally chosen to go with twelve other 
monks to revive the ancient foundation of Saint Benignus at Dijon. William now 
received the priesthood and was blessed as abbot. In a short time the whole abbey 
underwent a transformation both materially and spiritually. The edifice was 
enlarged, a great minster was built, schools were opened, the arts encouraged, 
hospitality developed, and works of charity in every form set on foot. Ultimately 
the community of Saint Benignus became the centre of a great network of associated 
monasteries, either reformed or newly founded, in Burgundy, Lorraine and Italy. 
St William's own character was one in which great zeal and firmness were joined 
with tender affection for his subjects. He did not hesitate on occasion to oppose, 
both by action and by his writings, the most powerful rulers of his time, men like 
the Emperor St Henry, Robert, King of France, and Pope John XIX, when he felt 
the cause of justice was at stake. In the interests of the Cluniac reform he was 
constantly active, making many journeys and travelling as far as Rome. His 
biographer claims that he inspired St Odilo, who is also commemorated on this day, 
with the love of high perfection, and amongst his other works he refounded Fecamp 
in Normandy, a monastic institution which afterwards had an important influence 
on the religious life in England. It was at Fecamp that St William breathed his 
last, as day was dawning, on Sunday, January 1, 1031. 

The life of William, written by his disciple Ralph Glaber shortly after his death, has been 
printed by the Bollandists, by Mabillon, and others. See also E. Sackur, Die Cluniac enser ; 
Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, vol. iii ; G. Chevallier, he Venerable Gaillaume (1875) ; 
and B.H.L., n. 1284. 

ST ODILO, Abbot (a.d. 1049) 

Odilo was very young when he received the monastic habit at Cluny from the hands 
of St Mayeul or Majolus, by whose appointment he was made his coadjutor in 991, 
though only twenty-nine years of age ; and from the death of St Mayeul in 994 he 
was charged with the entire government of that great abbey. Notwithstanding the 

12 


ST ODILO [January i 

austerities practised on himself, his dealings with others were always gentle and 
kindly. It was usual with him to say that of the two extremes, he chose rather to 
offend by tenderness than by a too rigid severity. In a great famine in 1006 his 
liberality to the poor was by many censured as extravagant ; for to relieve their 
necessities he melted down the sacred vessels and ornaments, and sold the gold 
crown which St Henry had presented to the abbey. Odilo journeyed to Rome four 
times, and when out of devotion to St Benedict he paid a visit to Monte Cassino, 
he earnestly begged leave to kiss the feet of all the monks, obtaining his request 
with difficulty. 

Under the rule of St Odilo the number of abbeys which accepted Cluniac 
customs and supervision increased, and a greater degree of organization and de- 
pendence of the subordinate monasteries on Cluny developed. The particulars 
varied somewhat according to the status of the monastery concerned and its distance 
from the mother-house : but many priories were dependent on Cluny in the 
strictest sense, and were controlled by her even to the extent of their superiors 
being nominated by Cluny. In this and in other developments there was a 
modification of principles laid down in the Rule of St Benedict, and historically a 
distinction is made between Cluniac monks and Benedictines pure and simple. 

Massacres and pillage were so common in that age, owing to the right claimed 
by every petty lord to avenge his own injuries by private wars, that the agreement 
called " the truce of God " was set on foot. By this, among other articles, it was 
agreed that churches should be sanctuaries to all sorts of persons, except those that 
violated this truce, and that from the Wednesday till the Monday morning no one 
should offer violence to another. This pact met with much opposition among the 
Neustrians, but was at length received and observed in most provinces of France, 
through the exhortations and endeavours of St Odilo, and Richard, Abbot of Saint- 
Vanne, who were charged with this commission. Prince Casimir, son of Miceelaw, 
King of Poland, retired to Cluny, where he became a monk, and was ordained 
deacon. He was afterwards, by a deputation of the nobility, called to the crown. 
St Odilo referred the matter to Pope Benedict IX, by whose dispensation Casimir 
mounted the throne in 1041, married, had several children, and reigned till his 
death in 1058. 

It was St Odilo who instituted the annual commemoration of all the faithful 
departed on November 2, to be observed by the members of his community with 
alms, prayers and sacrifices for the relief of the suffering souls in Purgatory ; and 
this charitable devotion he often much recommended. He was very devout to the 
Blessed Virgin ; and above all sacred mysteries to that of the divine Incarnation. 
As the monks were singing that verse in the church, " Thou, about to take upon 
thee to deliver man, didst not abhor the womb of a virgin ", he was rapt in ecstasy 
and swooned away. Most of his sermons and poems treat of the mysteries of our 
redemption or of the Blessed Virgin. Having patiently suffered during five years 
many painful diseases, St Odilo died at Souvigny, a priory in the Bourbonnais, 
whilst employed in the visitation of his monasteries, on January 1, 1049, being then 
eighty-seven years old, and having been fifty-six years abbot. He insisted on being 
carried to the church to assist at the Divine Office, and he died, having received 
the viaticum and extreme unction the day before, lying upon the ground on sack- 
cloth strewn with ashes. 

See his life by his disciple Jotsald, edited by the Bollandists and Mabillon. A portion 
of the text lacking in these copies has been printed in the Neues Archiv (1890), vol. xv, pp. 

13 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

117 seq. Cf. also E. Sackur, Die Cluniacenser ; P. Jardet, Saint Odilon (1898) ; BHL., n. 
908 ; and Mabillon, Annates, vol. i, p. 57. Ceillier demonstrates against Basnage that the 
Life of St Alice the Empress is the work of St Odilo, no less than the Life of St Mayeul. 
We have four letters, some poems, and several sermons of this saint, which may be found 
in Migne, PL., cxlii. See also Neues Archiv (1899), vol. xxiv, pp. 628-735. 

BD ZDISLAVA, Matron (a.d. 1252) 

This holy associate of the Dominican Order was born early in the thirteenth 
century in that part of Bohemia which now forms the diocese of Litomerice. Her 
piety as a child was remarkable, and it is said that at the age of seven she ran off 
into the forest with the intention of leading a solitary life given up entirely to prayer 
and penance. She was, of course, brought back, and some years later, in spite of 
her reluctance, she was constrained by her family to marry. Her husband, a 
wealthy nobleman, to whom she bore four children, seems to have treated her 
somewhat brutally, though by her patience and gentleness she secured in the end 
considerable freedom of action in her practices of devotion, her austerities and her 
many works of charity. She made herself at all times the mother of the poor, and 
especially of the fugitives who, in those troublous days of the Tartar invasion, 
poured down upon the castle of Gabel, where she and her husband resided. On 
one occasion her husband, coming indignantly to eject a repulsive fever-stricken 
mendicant to whom she had given a bed in their house, found in his place, not a 
living man, but a figure of Christ crucified. Deeply impressed by this (cf. what is 
said about a similar incident in the life of St Elizabeth of Hungary, November 19), 
he seems to have left his wife free to found a Dominican priory and to join their 
third order. 

Zdislava had visions and ecstasies, and even in those days of infrequent com- 
munion she is said to have received the Blessed Sacrament almost daily. When 
she fell grievously ill she consoled her husband and children by saying that she 
hoped to help them more from the next world than she had ever been able to do 
in this. She died on January 1, 1252, was buried in the priory of St Laurence 
which she had founded, and is stated to have appeared to her husband in glory 
shortly after her death. This greatly strengthened him in his conversion from 
a life of worldliness. The cult paid to her in her native country was approved 
by Pope Pius X in 1907. The alleged connection of Bd Zdislava Berka with 
the third order of St Dominic remains somewhat of a problem, for the first 
formal rule for Dominican tertiaries of which we have knowledge belongs to a 
later date. 

See Analecta Ecclesiastica (1907), p. 393 ; and M. C. Ganay, Les Bienheureuses Dominicaines 
(Paris, 1913), pp. 49-67. 

BD HUGOLINO OF GUALDO (a.d. 1260) 

Hardly anything appears to be recorded concerning the life of this religious 
beyond the fact that he entered the Order of the Hermits of St Augustine, and that 
somewhere about the year 1258 he took over a monastery in his native place, Gualdo 
in Umbria, which monastery had formerly belonged to the Benedictines. There 
he died in the odour of sanctity only a short time afterwards on January 1, 1260. 
It would seem that a local cult gradually grew up in the diocese of Spoleto, and that 
his body, which for many months had remained incorrupt, was translated by 

14 


BD JOSEPH TOMMASI [January i 

Bartholomew Accorambone, Bishop of Spoleto, to the parish church of SS. Antony 
and Antoninus. This cult was confirmed in 19 19. 

For the decree confirmationis cultus from which the above is taken, see the Acta Apostolicae 
Sedis for 1919, p. 181. 

BD JOSEPH TOMMASI, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church 
(a.d. 1713) 

By the beatification of Cardinal Joseph Mary Tommasi, the Church may be said 
to have set her seal upon the principle that neither profound learning nor the critical 
spirit of accurate scholarship nor independence of judgement, so long as it is kept 
in check by regard for dogmatic truth, are inconsistent with the highest sanctity. 
Bd Joseph Tommasi has been described by a high modern authority, Edmund 
Bishop, as " the prince of liturgists ", and he has been honoured by Anglicans on 
that ground almost as much as by Catholics ; yet amid all his literary labours he 
practised heroic virtue, and was faithful to the minutest observances of a strict 
religious rule. 

He was born on September 12, 1649, at Alicata in Sicily. His father was duke 
of Palermo and prince of Lampedusa, with other honourable titles ; his mother's 
name was Rosalia Traino. They had already four daughters, who became nuns 
in the Benedictine monastery at Palma founded by their father. One of them, 
Isabella, the cardinal's great confidant (in religion Maria Crocifissa), is also a 
candidate for beatification and may be styled " Venerable ". No pains were spared 
in Joseph's education, and even as a boy he was a good Greek scholar. The music 
of the Church also had ever a great attraction for him, and before he was fifteen the 
superior general of the Theatines was struck with his unusual ability. His distinct 
call to the religious life came about this time — manifested in his increasing love of 
prayer and solitude, and his growing distaste for the things of earth. Many 
obstacles were in the way, besides his father's wish that he should take up a position 
at court. One was most unexpected. His mother had already entered a convent 
as an oblate or tertiary, and now his father determined to do the same and to leave 
the world, making over everything to Joseph. However, after a time he gave his 
consent to his son's fulfilling his vocation. He was drawn to the Theatine clerks 
regular, as his uncle, Don Carlo, was a distinguished and most saintly member of 
that order, and his vocation was finally determined by a sermon which he heard. 
He entered the noviciate at Palermo in 1664, and after his profession, being very 
delicate, he was sent to Palma for change and rest, giving great edification to all he 
met. He next went to Messina to study Greek, thence to Rome and to the Uni- 
versities of Ferrara and Modena. In the process of beatification is a letter from 
Mgr Cavalcante, Bishop of Pozzuoli, speaking of the great virtue, humility and love 
of silence of the young religious. 

A few years later we hear of a prophecy of Maria Crocifissa that her brother 
would one day be a cardinal, accompanied by a sisterly reminder that, however fine 
a horse's trappings may be, he still remains a horse. In 1673 Joseph was called to 
Rome, being twenty-four years old. His superior offered to ordain him before the 
full time, but he refused the offer. Maria Crocifissa wrote him a letter of encour- 
agement, telling him not to shrink from the priesthood, but to see that his soul was 
like wax, ready to receive its indelible seal. " I give you ", she wrote, " the great 
book of Christ crucified. Pass your time reading it, for I find your name inscribed 

*5 


January i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

there." He prepared most earnestly for his ordination, and sang his three Christ- 
mas Masses at San Silvestro, where for forty years, with the exception of a journey 
to Loreto, he lived the ordinary life of his order. He was already looked upon as a 
saint in Rome. At the very sight of him quarrels and disputes, unkind or loose 
talk ceased. But Don Joseph, like all the chosen of God, passed through a time 
of bitter spiritual trial and desolation. In 1675 he writes to Maria Crocifissa 
imploring her prayers. She answered exhorting him to patience and humility in 
accepting his cross from the hand of God, telling him that she, too, was not without 
her spiritual trials. He answered that the days of actual physical martyrdom are 
over, and that we are now in the days of hidden martyrdom, seen only by God ; the 
lesson of it all being trust in God. He was at this time so scrupulous that he could 
not be allowed to hear confessions or preach. 

Don Joseph's life was almost that of a hermit, devoted to prayer and study. He 
made a special study of Greek philosophy, Holy Scripture and the Breviary. A 
knowledge of eastern languages was a necessity, and his Hebrew teacher, Rabbi 
Moses da Cave, owed his conversion from Judaism in 1698, at the age of seventy 
and after long years of resistance, to the prayers of Don Giuseppe and his sisters. 
His first book was an edition of the Speculum of St Augustine. In 1680 appeared 
the Codices Sacramentorum, being four texts of the most ancient liturgies he could 
meet with. These precious documents had been stolen from the library of Fleury 
Abbey, and dispersed by the Calvinists in the sixteenth century. They had been 
gradually collected together again in Rome, partly by Queen Christina of Sweden. 
Tommasi's work became celebrated and Mabillon transcribed a great part of it in 
his Liturgia Gallicana. Out of modesty his next book, the Psalterium, was pub- 
lished under the name of Giuseppe Caro. It was a work of very great learning, 
giving an account of the two most important translations of the psalms, the Roman 
and the Gallican, and it opened up for liturgists a whole new field of research. 
There were many other treatises of the same class, particularly on the Antiphonarium, 
all displaying great erudition and fervent piety. His work on the psalms attracted 
the notice of Pope Innocent XII, and in 1697 Tommasi entered the Vatican, under 
obedience, for the first time. The year 1704 saw him appointed theologian to the 
Congregation, of Discipline of Regulars. In this latter capacity he laboured for 
the reform of the orders, and all who came in contact with him were impressed with 
his zeal and holiness. 

Don Tommasi, having been chosen as confessor by Cardinal Albani, had re- 
quired his penitent in 1700 to accept the papacy under pain of mortal sin. Soon 
after, Clement XI insisted on raising the Theatine scholar to the cardinalate, saying, 
Tommasi Vha fatto a Noi, e Noi lo faremo a lui. (" What Tommasi did to us, we 
will do to him.") It was promptly refused, and the whole day was spent in dis- 
cussion between Don Tommasi and the high ecclesiastics. Eventually he wrote 
the pope a grateful letter of thanks, " representing to your Holiness the obstacles 
and impediments, my grave sins, my passions ill-controlled, my ignorance and want 
of ability, and my conscience bound by vows never to accept any dignity, which 
make it imperative to implore from your Holiness the permission to refuse the 
honour ". This letter was read to the Congregation of the Holy Office, and Car- 
dinal Ferrari was deputed by Clement to tell Tommasi that the same reasons 
applied to him as to the pope, whom he had urged to accept the still more onerous 
burden of the papacy. Being finally persuaded that it was the will of God, he 
submitted, saying, Oh via ! sard per pochi mese (" Well ! it will only be for a few 

16 


BD JOSEPH TOMMASI [January i 

months "), and went to receive the hat from his Holiness. He wrote to Maria 
Crocifissa to implore her prayers, saying that Saul among the prophets fell terribly, 
and that Judas was an apostle and perished. 

Joseph Tommasi continued his simple life, going to choir with his brethren, 
and as much as possible avoiding all ceremony. The members of his household 
were dressed as poor people ; amongst them was an old beggar, a converted Jew. 
His food was of the plainest, and even of that he ate so little that his doctor remon- 
strated. The new cardinal took the title of San Martino ai Monti, remembering 
that he had left home to begin his religious life on St Martini day, and also because 
it had been the title of St Charles Borromeo, who was his great pattern in his life 
as cardinal. He found it necessary to leave his monastery in order to live near his 
church, which belonged to the Carmelites, with whom he frequently joined in their 
offices as one of themselves. People flocked from all over Rome to be present at 
his Mass, whereat he allowed nothing but plainsong, accompanied by the organ 
only. At the classes' of Christian doctrine on Sunday he himself instructed the 
smallest children, explaining the catechism and singing hymns with them. Owing 
to the extreme moral laxity of the day, he, with the pope's approval and following 
the example of Borromeo, insisted on the separation of the sexes in the church and 
in approaching the altar. This raised a storm of opposition and abuse, but he 
persevered quietly in what he thought to be right.* 

Bd Joseph was absorbed in the love of God, and often walked about hardly 
knowing what he was doing. Those who served his Mass bore witness to the 
extraordinary graces vouchsafed to him, and he was several times found in ecstasy 
before the Blessed Sacrament or his crucifix. He showed his love for God's 
creatures by his almsgiving and care for all who came to him in need — not even 
allowing the birds to go hungry. The poor and suffering besieged his house and 
pressed round him when he went out, just as long ago they pressed round his 
Master. His humility had even, at times, been exaggerated, and his uncle Don 
Carlo once reproved him for calling himself a ne'er-do-well, telling him not to be 
abject but humble. To Maria Crocifissa he once called himself a tristo, which may 
mean scoundrel, to which she replied that she must decline to correspond with such 
a character. We read also of his patience in bearing constant bad health ; of his 
very severe bodily mortifications, and of the wise moderation of the advice he gave 
to all who sought his help. He more than once foretold his own death, and when 
in December 1712 Pope Clement fell ill, the cardinal observed, " The pope will 
recover ; I shall die." He chose the spot where he should be buried in the crypt 
of his church, to which he went for the last time on St Thomas's day and joined the 
friars at Compline. After the office, he made arrangements with the prior about 
the alms to be given to the poor, advising him to keep back the coal as the cold 
would increase after Christmas. 

On Christmas eve he was very ill, but insisted on attending the services at St 
Peter's, and offered his three Masses in his own chapel. He suffered greatly from 
cold, and, refusing all food, could only sit crouching over the fire. After two days 
he took to his bed. Hearing the lamentations of his famiglia and of the poor people 
who were crowding into the lower part of the house, he sent them word that he 
had asked the pope to provide for them. At times he was delirious, but his confessor 

# Separation of men from women at public worship is normal in most parts of the East, 
and is considered theoretically desirable in the West too : cf. the Code of Canon Law, 
canon 1262, § 1. 

17 


January 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

repeating the name of Jesus he recovered consciousness at once. He would not 
have the prayers for the dying said until he asked for them. Very shortly before 
his death he received viaticum, and thus strengthened by the Lord he had so dearly 
loved, he passed quietly through the janua caelioi death on January 1, 1713. Even 
before his death the sick were healed through touching his clothing, and when the 
end had come cures multiplied round his bier. Bd Joseph Tommasi was beatified 
in 1803. 

See D. Bernino, Vita del V. Card. G. M. Tomasi (1722) ; and the anonymous Theatine 
biography compiled from the process of beatification, Vita del B. Giuseppe M. Tommasi 
C1803). Vezzosi published a collected edition of his works in eleven volumes in Rome, 
1 747-1 769 ; but some few tractates have only been printed in recent times by Cardinal G. 
Mercati (Studi e Testi, vol. xv, 1905), who points out that the beatus in signing his own name 
spelt it with one " m " ; but the commonly received form is Tommasi. 


Zr • THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS 

" f I lHOU shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their 
I sins " (Matt, i 21). A feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is observed in the 

JL. Western church on the Sunday that falls between the Circumcision and 
the Epiphany ; and when there is no such Sunday, on this date, January 2. As 
we honour Christ's passion summed up in the material cross, so the name Jesus 
brings to the mind all that name stands for (cf. Phil, ii 9-10). " To speak of it 
gives light ; to think of it is the food of the soul ; to call on it calms and soothes 
the heart " : so said St Bernard of Clairvaux, than whom no one has spoken of the 
Holy Name more movingly or more profoundly. 

The Council of Lyons in 1274 prescribed a special devotion towards the name 
of Jesus, and it was to the Order of Preachers that Bd Gregory X specially turned 
to spread it. But its great diffusion — in the face of a good deal of opposition — was 
due to the two Friars Minor, St Bernardino of Siena and St John of Capistrano. 
It was they who popularized the use of the monogram IHS, which is simply an 
abbreviation of the name Jesus (Ihesus). The subsequent adoption of this mono- 
gram as part of the emblem of the Society of Jesus gave it a yet wider diffusion. A 
feast of the Holy Name was granted by the Holy See to the Franciscans in 1530 
and was subsequently allowed elsewhere. Not till 1721 was it extended to the 
whole Western church, and it was not many years later that Pope Benedict XIV's 
commission for the reform of the Breviary recommended that it should be with- 
drawn from the general calendar. The feast is in a sense only a double of the 
Circumcision, and the lessons of the third nocturn at Matins are taken from St 
Bernard's sermons on that mystery. 

It is interesting to note that the Name of Jesus figures in the calendar of the 
Book of Common Prayer, on August 7, the date selected by some late medieval 
bishops in England and Scotland when they adopted the feast on their own 
initiative. And Father Edward Caswall's translation of the lovely Vespers hymn, 
Jesu dulcis memoria (anonymous, but often wrongly attributed to St Bernard), has 
made it known perhaps better among Protestants than Catholics. St Bernardino 
and St John of Capistrano may have been the originators of the Litany of the Holy 
Name, which in fact is concerned rather with the attributes of our Lord than with 
His name : Bishop Challoner in the original Garden of the Soul calls it simply the 

18 


ST MACARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA [January 2 

Litany of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The great English contribution to the devotion 
was Jesu's Psalter, by the Bridgettine Richard Whytford, with its triple invocations 
of Jesu. Nowadays it too often is printed in a debased form. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. x, pp. 319-320 ; C. Stengel, Sacrosancti nominis 
Jesu cultus et miracula (161 3) ; lives of St Bernardino of Siena ; F. G. Hoi week, Calen- 
darium liturgicum festorum Dei et Dei Matris (1925) ; and the issue of La Vie Spirituelle for 
January 1952. For the Eastern tradition of the Holy Name, see La priere de Jesus (Cheve- 
togne, 1 951). An account of the work and projects of Pope Benedict XIV's commission, 
referred to above and elsewhere herein, may be most easily found in S. Baumer, Histoire du 
breviaire, vol. ii (1905), cap. 12 (trans, from the German and supplemented by R. Biron). 

ST MACARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (c. a d. 394) 

St Macarius the Younger, a citizen of Alexandria, followed the business of a 
confectioner. Desirous to serve God with his whole heart, he forsook the world 
in the flower of his age and spent upwards of sixty years in the desert in penance 
and contemplation. He first retired into the Thebaid about the year 335. Having 
acquired some proficiency in virtue under masters renowned for their sanctity, 
he quitted Upper Egypt and came to the Lower before the year 373. In this part 
were three deserts almost adjoining each other : that of Skete, on the borders of 
Libya, that of the Cells, contiguous to the former, this name being given to it on 
account of the hermit-cells with which it abounded ; and a third, which reached 
to the western branch of the Nile, called Nitria. St Macarius had a cell in each of 
these deserts, but his chief residence was in that of the Cells. Each anchoret had 
here a separate cell in which he spent his time, except on Saturday and Sunday 
when all assembled in one church to celebrate and receive the divine mysteries. 
When a stranger came to live among them, everyone offered him his cell, and was 
ready to build another for himself. Their cells were not within sight of each other. 
Their manual labour, which was that of making baskets or mats, did not interrupt 
the prayer of the heart, and a profound silence reigned throughout the district. 
Our saint here received the priesthood, and shone as a bright sun influencing this 
holy company, whilst St Macarius the Elder lived no less eminent in the wilderness 
of Skete. Palladius has recorded a memorable instance of the self-denial observed 
by these hermits. A present was made to St Macarius of a newly-gathered bunch 
of grapes ; the holy man carried it to a neighbouring monk who was ill, and he sent 
it to another. In this manner it passed to all the cells and was brought back to 
Macarius, who was exceedingly rejoiced to perceive the abstinence of his brethren, 
but would not eat the grapes himself. 

The austerities of all the inhabitants of that desert were extraordinary, but St 
Macarius went far beyond the rest. For seven years together he lived only on raw 
vegetables and beans, and for the three following years contented himself with four 
or five ounces of bread a day, and consumed only one little vessel of oil in a year, 
as Palladius assures us. His watchings were not less surprising. God had given 
him a body capable of bearing the greatest rigours ; and his fervour was so intense 
that whatever spiritual exercise he heard of or saw practised by others he resolved 
to adopt for himself. The reputation of the monastery of Tabennisi, under St 
Pachomius, drew him to this place in disguise, some time before the year 349. St 
Pachomius told him that he seemed too far advanced in years to accustom himself 
to their fastings and watchings ; but at length admitted him on condition he would 
observe all the rules. Lent approaching soon after, the monks prepared to pass 

J 9 


January 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

that holy time each according to his strength and fervour : some by fasting one, 
others two, three or four days, without any nourishment ; some standing all day, 
others only sitting at their work. Macarius took palm-tree leaves steeped in water 
as materials with which to occupy himself, and standing in a retired place passed 
the whole time without eating, except for a few green cabbage leaves on Sundays. 
His hands were employed in almost continual labour, and his heart conversed with 
God. Such a prodigy astonished the monks, who even remonstrated with the 
abbot at Easter deprecating a singularity which, if tolerated, might on several 
accounts be prejudicial to their community. St Pachomius prayed to know who 
this stranger was ; and learning by revelation that he was the great Macarius, 
embraced him, thanked him for the edification he had given, and desired him, when 
he returned to his desert, to offer up his prayers for them. 

The virtue of this great saint was often exercised by temptations. One was a 
suggestion to quit his desert and go to Rome to serve the sick in the hospitals ; 
which, on due reflection, he discovered to be a secret artifice of vainglory inciting 
him to attract the eyes and esteem of the world. True humility alone could dis- 
cover the snare which lurked under the specious disguise of charity. Finding this 
enemy extremely importunate, he threw himself on the ground in his cell, and cried 
out to the fiends, " Drag me hence, if you can, by force, for I will not stir ". Thus 
he lay till night, but as soon as he arose they renewed the assault ; and he, to stand 
firm against them, filled two baskets with sand, and laying them on his shoulders, 
set out to tramp the wilderness. A friend, meeting him, asked him what he was 
doing, and made an offer to relieve him of his burden ; but the saint only replied, 
" I am tormenting my tormentor ". He returned home in the evening, freed from 
the temptation. Palladius informs us that St Macarius, desiring to enjoy heavenly 
contemplation at least for five days without interruption, immured himself within 
his cell, and said to his soul, " Having taken up thy abode in Heaven where thou 
hast God and His angels to converse with, see that thou descend not thence : regard 
not earthly things." The first two days his heart overflowed with rapture ; but 
on the third he met with so violent a disturbance from the Devil, that he was 
obliged to return to his usual manner of life. God oftentimes withdraws Himself, 
as the saint observed on this occasion, to make religious people sensible of their 
own weakness and to convince them that this life is a state of trial. St Jerome and 
others relate that a certain anchoret in Nitria having left one hundred crowns at his 
death, which he had acquired by weaving cloth, the monks met to deliberate what 
should be done with the money. Some were for having it given to the poor, others 
to the Church : but Macarius, Pambo, Isidore and others, who were called The 
Fathers, ordained that the one hundred crowns should be thrown into the grave, 
and that at the same time should be pronounced the words, " May thy money be 
with thee to perdition ". This example struck terror into the monks and put an 
end to the hoarding of money. 

Palladius, who from 391 lived for a time under our saint, was eye-witness of 
several miracles wrought by him. He relates that a certain priest whose head was 
consumed by a cancerous sore came to his cell, but was refused admittance ; 
Macarius at first would not even speak to him. Palladius strove to prevail upon 
him to give at least some answer to the unfortunate man. Macarius on the contrary 
urged that God, to punish him for a sin of the flesh, had afflicted him with this 
disorder : however, that upon his sincere repentance and promise never more to 
celebrate the divine mysteries he would intercede for his cure. The priest con- 

20 


ST MUNCHIN [January 2 

fessed his sin, with the promise required. The saint thereupon absolved him by 
the imposition of hands ; and a few days after the priest came back perfectly healed, 
glorifying God and giving thanks to his servant. 

The two saints of the name of Macarius happened one day to cross the Nile 
together in a boat, when certain officers could not help observing to each other that 
these men, from the cheerfulness of their aspect, must be happy in their poverty. 
Macarius of Alexandria, alluding to their name, which in Greek signifies happy, 
made this answer, " You have reason to call us happy, for this is our name. But 
if we are happy in despising the world, are not you miserable who live slaves to it ? " 
These words, uttered with a tone of voice expressive of an interior conviction of 
their truth, had such an effect on the tribune who first spoke that, hastening home, 
he distributed his fortune among the poor, and embraced an eremitical life. 

In the desert of Nitria a monastery bearing the name of St Macarius survived 
for many centuries. St Jerome, in his letter to Rusticus, seems to have copied 
many things from a set of constitutions attributed to this saint. The Concordia 
Regularum, or " collection of rules ", gives another code under the names of the 
two SS. Macarius, Serapion (of Arsinoe, or the other of Nitria), Paphnutius (of 
Bekbale, priest of Skete), and thirty-four other abbots. According to this latter, 
the monks fasted the whole year, except on Sundays and the time from Easter to 
Whitsuntide ; they observed the strictest poverty, and divided the day between 
manual labour and prayer. Hospitality was much recommended, but for the sake 
of recollection it was strictly forbidden for any monk, except one who was deputed 
to entertain guests, ever to speak to any stranger without leave. The definition of 
a monk or anchoret given by Abbot de Ranee, of La Trappe, seems to trace the 
portrait of the great Macarius in the desert. When, says he, a soul relishes God 
in solitude, she thinks no more of anything but Heaven. This Macarius is named 
in the canon of the Coptic Mass. 

See Palladius, Lausiac History, ch. 18, and Acta Sanctorum, January 2. Cf. Schiwietz, 
Morgenlandische Monchtum (1904), vol. i, pp. 104 seq. ; Amelineau in Annates du Musee 
Guimet, xxv, 235 seq. ; BHL., n. 757 ; Codex Regularum in Migne, PL., vol. ciii ; and 
Concordia Regularum, ed. H. Menard (1638). Although there may be some confusion in 
the stories told regarding the different ascetics who bore the name Macarius, it is impossible 
to identify this Macarius " the Younger " (of Alexandria) with Macarius the Elder (the 
Egyptian), for Palladius distinctly tells us that he knew them both. 

ST MUNCHIN, Bishop (Seventh Century) 

The martyrologies of Oengus, Tallaght and Gorman all mention on this day a 
Munchin, who is also described as " the Wise ", but that he was ever bishop of 
Limerick, or bishop at all, seems most doubtful. There is no extant life of the 
saint and the only data about his ancestry and career are to be found in the pedigree 
of the Dal Cais, the ruling sept in north Munster during early Christian times. 
Among the sept is numbered " Sedna from whom Maincin of Luimneach " in the 
Book of Ui Maine. The rare references to Sedna's folk show that the territory of 
his people lay by the coast of the present County Clare. The connection of 
Maincin (the name means " Little Monk ") with the island at Limerick is explained 
in another entry in the genealogy : " Dioma had three sons, Dubduin, Aindlid and 
Feardomnach who gave Sibtand to Maincin of Luimneach ". The donor's 
brethren figure in well-vouched history and we are enabled to date the lifetime of 
Munchin to the late seventh century. Inis Sibtand was the island at the head of 

21 


January 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the Shannon tideway where in the early tenth century the Norsemen founded 
Limerick. 

St Munchin is the principal patron of the diocese of Limerick, and his feast is 
kept throughout Ireland. 

The substance of the above notice is due to Mgr Canon Michael Moloney, of Limerick. 
Canon J. Begley's surmise in his history of the diocese of Limerick (1906), pp. 71-72, is no 
more than an arbitrary guess. See also LIS., vol. i, pp. 27-34. 

ST VINGENTIAN (a.d. 672 ?) 

The only information which we possess concerning this saint is quite untrustworthy. 
It come to us in a biography which professes to have been written by a certain 
deacon Hermenbert, who was his tutor when a boy but survived him long enough to 
write this account. The life states that Vincentian lost his parents as a child and 
was brought up by one Berald, Duke of Aquitaine, who eventually agreed to the 
request of St Didier, Bishop of Cahors, that so promising a child should be trained 
for the priesthood. But Berald died soon after, and his son and successor compelled 
the bishop to send the youth back to the ducal household, where he was placed in 
charge of the stables. In the interval Vincentian had acquired the habits of the 
most fervent piety. He gave away to the poor his clothes and his food, he refused 
a bride who was pressed upon him, and, in the end, he was so cruelly beaten, 
persecuted and threatened that he ran away and hid himself in the forest, leading a 
solitary life as a hermit. It is useless to detail the extravagant miracles which mark 
the different stages of the story. Eventually death came to release Vincentian at 
the time which had been revealed to him in a vision, viz., January 2, 672. The 
dead body was placed on a car to be drawn by two oxen to the spot which his 
relics were destined to render famous. On the way a bear killed one of the oxen, 
but a disciple of the saint commanded the bear to drag the car in the place of the 
beast it had killed, and it at once obeyed. 

The life has been printed by W. Levison in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. v, pp. 1 12-128, 
with an introduction in which he proves that the story cannot be the work of a contemporary 
as pretended but that it is a pure fabrication, two or three hundred years later in date. See 
also Bruno Krusch in Neues Archiv, vol. xviii, p. 561. There is nothing even to show that 
such a person as St Vincentian ever existed. 

ST ADALHARD, or ADELARD, Abbot (a.d. 827) 

The family of this holy monk was most illustrious, his father Bernard being son of 
Charles Martel and brother of King Pepin, so that Adalhard was first cousin to 
Charlemagne. He was only twenty years old when, in 773, he took the monastic 
habit at Corbie in Picardy, a monastery that had been founded by Queen St Ba- 
thildis. The first employment assigned him was that of gardener, in which, whilst 
his hands were employed in digging or weeding, his thoughts were on God and 
heavenly things. The great example of his virtue defeated the projects of his 
humility and did not suffer him to live long unknown, and some years after he was 
chosen abbot. Being obliged by Charlemagne often to attend at court, he soon, in 
fact, became the first among the king's counsellors, as he is styled by Hincmar, who 
had seen him there in 796. He was even compelled by Charlemagne to quit his 
monastery altogether, and act as chief minister to that prince's eldest son Pepin, 
who, at his death at Milan in 810, appointed the saint tutor to his son Bernard. 

22 


BD AYRALD [January 2 

After the death of Charlemagne, Adalhard was accused of supporting the revolt 
of Bernard against Louis the Debonair, who banished him to a monastery in the 
little island of Heri, called afterwards Noirmoutier, on the coast of Aquitaine. The 
saint's brother Wala (one of the great men of that age, as appears from his curious 
life, published by Mabillon) he obliged to become a monk at Lerins. This exile 
St Adalhard regarded as a great gain, and in it his tranquillity of soul met with no 
interruptions. The emperor at length was made sensible of his innocence, and 
after five years' banishment recalled him to court towards the close of the year 821 ; 
but he soon had again to retire to his abbey at Corbie, where he delighted to take 
upon himself the most humbling employments of the house. By his solicitude and 
powerful example his spiritual children grew daily in fervour ; and such was his 
zeal for their advancement, that he passed no week without speaking to every one 
of them in particular, and no day without exhorting them all in general by his 
discourses. The inhabitants of the country round had also a share in his labours, 
and he expended upon the poor the revenues of his monastery with a profusion 
which many condemned as excessive, but which Heaven sometimes approved by 
sensible miracles. The good old man would receive advice from the least of his 
monks. When entreated to moderate his austerities, he answered, " I will take 
care of your servant ", meaning himself, " that he may serve you the longer." 

During his banishment another Adalhard, who governed the monastery by his 
appointment, began at our saint's suggestion to prepare the foundation of the 
monastery of New Corbie, commonly called Corvey, in the diocese of Paderborn, 
that it might be a nursery of evangelical labourers for the conversion of the northern 
nations. St Adalhard, after his return to Corbie, completed this undertaking, and 
to perpetuate the strict observance which he established in his two monasteries he 
compiled a book of statutes for their use, of which considerable fragments are 
extant. Other works of St Adalhard are lost, but by those which we have, and also 
by his disciples St Paschasius Radbertus, St Anskar and others, it is clear that he 
was a zealous promoter of literature in his monasteries. Paschasius assures us 
that he instructed the people not only in the Latin, but also in the Teutonic and 
vulgar French languages. Alcuin, in a letter addressed to him under the name of 
Antony, calls him his son, whence many infer that he had been scholar to that great 
man. St Adalhard had just returned from Germany to Corbie, when he fell ill 
three days before Christmas and died on January 2, 827, in his seventy-third year. 
Upon proof of several miracles the body of the saint was translated with solemnity 
in 1040 ; of which ceremony we have a full account, by an author, not St Gerard, 
who also composed an office in his honour, in gratitude for having been cured of 
intense pains in the bead through his intercession. 

See his life, compiled with accuracy but in a tone of panegyric, by his disciple, Paschasius 
Radbertus, printed in the Acta Sanctorum, and more correctly in Mabillon (vol. v, p. 306). 
Cf. also U. Berliere in DHG., vol. i, cc. 457-458 ; and BHL., n. 11. 

BD AYRALD, Bishop of Maurienne (a.d. 1146 ?) 

The identity of this holy bishop is involved in much confusion and obscurity. His 
cultus was confirmed in 1863, and in the decree published on that occasion a sum- 
mary of his life is given. 

If we may credit this account, he was a son of William II, Count of Burgundy. 
Of his three brothers, one was elected pope under the name of Callistus II ; another, 

23 


January 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Raymond, became king of Castile ; and the third, Henry, count of Portugal. 
Ayrald himself, however, according to the same summary, entered the Carthusian 
Order at Portes, and was made prior. From this life of seclusion he was called 
away to rule the see of Maurienne, but we are told that he still paid long visits to 
his old monastery to renew his spirit of fervour, and that he died at a comparatively 
early age. While one Carthusian chronicler, Dom Le Vasseur, is in substantial 
agreement with this account, assigning January 2, 1146, as the date of Ayrald's 
death, another, Dom Le Couteulx, contradicts it at almost every point. The fact 
seems to be that in the twelfth century there were three different bishops of 
Maurienne named Ayrald or Ayrard. One of these, either the first or the third, 
but not the second, had been a Carthusian monk at Portes. 

In honour of the bishop who was beatified and with whom we are here concerned, 
the following epitaph was engraved of old upon his tomb in the cathedral of 
Maurienne : 

Hie jacet Airaldus, claro de sanguine natus, 
Portarum monachus, Pontificumque decus ; 

Ecclesiae lumen, miserorum atque columen, 
Virtute et signis splendidus innumeris. 

" Here lies Ayrald, a man of noble blood, monk of 
Portes, glory of pontiffs, a light of the Church, stay of the 
unfortunate, shining with goodness and unnumbered 
miracles.' ' 

A lively controversy, of which a full bibliography may be found in U. Chevalier's 
Repertoire — Bio-bibliographie, has been carried on regarding the identity of Bd Ayrald. See 
especially C. F. Bellet, Un probleme d'hagiographie (1901), and Truchet, Le B. Ayrald (1891) ; 
also Le Vasseur, Ephemerides , vol. i, pp. 3-6 ; Le Couteulx, Annates Ord. Carth., vols, i, 
382 seq., and ii, 43 seq. Cf. Historisches Jahrbuch, 1903, p. 142, and 1904, p. 279. 

BD STEPHANA QUINZANI, Virgin (a.d. 1530) 

Stephana Quinzani was born in 1457 near Brescia, of a middle-class family. 
Strange things are related of her childhood, and she is said to have consecrated 
herself to God at a very early age. Her precise vocation, however, was not decided 
until her father and mother moved to Soncino, and she came under the influence 
of the Dominicans. There she had a vision of St Andrew the Apostle holding a 
cross. Receiving the habit of the third order of St Dominic, she spent her time in 
nursing the sick and relieving the poor until she was able herself to found a convent 
at Soncino. The most interesting document which has been preserved concerning 
her is a contemporary account, drawn up in 1497 and signed by twenty-one wit- 
nesses, describing one of the ecstasies in which she represented in her own person 
the different stages of the Passion, including the scourging, the crowning with 
thorns and the nailing to the cross. In these ecstasies the wound marks, or 
stigmata, seem to have shown themselves in her hands and feet, and her frame 
became so rigid that the onlookers could not change her position or bend her limbs. 
She is said to have performed many miracles of healing and to have multiplied 
food and money. 

The Legenda Volgare> from which all accounts of Bd Stephana ultimately derive, 
is called by its editor, Mgr Guerrini, " a mystical romance in full flower, written as 
ascetical edification rather than history, full of elevations and mystical ramblings 
for women readers ". Another source, the fragments of the beata's own letters, 

24 


ST CASPAR DEL BUFALO [January 2 

has not yet been properly explored and studied ; she corresponded with many 
people in northern Italy. Bd Stephana died on January 2, 1530, and her cultus 
was confirmed in 1740. 

See P. de Micheli, La b. Stefana Quinzani : memorie e document!, and P. Guerrini, La 
prima Legenda Volgare de la b. Stefana Quinzani (1930). See also M. C. Ganay, Les Bses. 
Dominicaines (1913), pp. 413-434, and pp. 545-548 where is printed part of the relazione 
referred to above. 

ST CASPAR DEL BUFALO, Founder of the Missioners of the 
Precious Blood (a.d. 1837) 

Caspar, who was born in Rome, the son of a chef, in 1786, received his education 
at the Collegio Romano and was ordained priest in 1808. Shortly after this Rome 
was taken by Napoleon's army, and he, with most of the clergy, was exiled for 
refusing to abjure his allegiance to the Holy See. He returned after the fall of 
Napoleon to find a wide scope for work, as Rome had for nearly five years been 
almost entirely without priests and sacraments. 

In 1 8 14 he conducted a mission at Giano, in the diocese of Spoleto, and there 
the idea of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood first came to him. He 
found a house at Giano suitable for his purpose, and with the help of Cardinal 
Cristaldi, ever his kind friend, and the hearty approval of Pope Pius VII, the new 
congregation was formally approved in 181 5. The house and adjoining church of 
San Felice in Giano were given him by the pope. The second foundation was 
made in 18 19 and the third shortly afterwards at Albano. His wish was to have a 
house in every diocese, the most neglected and wicked town or district being chosen. 
The kingdom of Naples was in those days a nest of crime of every kind ; no one's 
life or property was safe, and in 1821 the pope wrote with his own hand to del 
Bufalo asking him to found six houses there. He joyfully responded, but met with 
endless difficulties before subjects and funds were collected. His biographer tells 
us that Providence had scherzato (played practical jokes) with him, as over and over 
again one difficulty was overcome only to be replaced by a greater ; but by degrees 
men gathered round him, and at last he could say he had more than all the money 
he wanted. 

Grave difficulties arose under Pope Leo XII ; but these were cleared up, and 
in 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished 
to be trained specially as missioners. The ideal was high, the work arduous. A 
missioner, the founder said, like a soldier or sailor, must never give in, must be 
ready for anything. He required from his sons not only devotion, but also hard 
study. To evangelize the whole world, which was their aim, they must learn 
foreign languages besides theology and Holy Scripture. In his life-time their work 
covered the whole of Italy. Journeying from town to town, enduring endless 
hardships, threatened often even with death, their founder always taking the most 
arduous work himself, they preached their message. 

Del Bufalo's biographer gives us a graphic account of a mission, describing its 
successive stages. Some of his methods were distinctly dramatic, e.g. the mis- 
sioners took the discipline in the public piazza, which always resulted in many 
conversions. On the last day forbidden firearms, obscene books, and anything else 
that might offend Almighty God were publicly burnt. A cross was erected in 
memoriam, a solemn Te Deum sung, and the missioners went away quietly. Caspar 

25 


January 3] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

would often say at the end of a mission, exhausted but thankful, " If it is so sweet 
to tire ourselves for God, what will it be to enjoy Him ! " One of his principles 
was that everybody should be made to work. He therefore founded works of 
charity in Rome for young and old, rich and poor of both sexes. He opened the 
night oratory, where our Lord is worshipped all night by men, many coming to 
Him, like Nicodemus, by night who would not have the courage to go to confession 
by day. 

His last mission was preached in Rome at the Chiesa Nuova during the cholera 
outbreak of 1836. Feeling his strength failing, he returned at once to Albano, 
and made every preparation for death. He suffered terribly from cold, and at 
night from parching thirst, but he would not take anything to drink, so that he 
might be able to celebrate Mass. He asked to be left alone as much as 
possible, that his prayer might be less interrupted. After the feast of St Francis 
Xavier he went to Rome to die. On December 19 the doctor forbade him to 
say Mass ; he received the last sacraments on December 28, and he died the 
same day. 

Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after 
his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. We have, in fact, a long 
list of cures and other miraculous occurrences. He was canonized in 1954. 

See the summarium presented to the Congregation of Rites in the process of beatification, 
and Sardi, Notizie intorno alia vita del beato Gaspare del Bufalo (1904). The English form 
of the name Caspar or Gaspar is properly Jasper. 


O . ST ANTHERUS, Pope and Martyr (a.d. 236) 

THE name of St Antherus occurs in the list of popes after that of St Pontian. 
He is believed to have been elected November 21, 235, and to have died 
January 3, 236, thus reigning only forty-three days. Nothing certain is 
known regarding his martyrdom, though the Liber Pontificate states that he 
was put to death for obtaining copies of the official proceedings against the martyrs 
with the view of preserving them in the episcopal archives. He was buried 
in the " papal crypt " in the catacombs (Cemetery of St Callistus), and the 
site was discovered by de Rossi in 1854, together with the fragments of a Greek 
inscription. 

See Allard, Hist, des Persecutions, vol. ii, p. 212 ; G. B. de Rossi, Roma Sotteranea, 
vol. ii, pp. 55 seq. and 180 seq. ; and the Liber Pontificalis, ed. L. Duchesne (1 886-1 892), 
vol. i, p. 147. 

ST PETER BALSAM, Martyr (a.d. 311) 

Peter Balsam, to follow the narrative of his published " acts ", was a native of 
the territory of Eleutheropolis in Palestine, who was apprehended at Aulana 
in the persecution of Maximinus. Being brought before Severus, governor 
of the province, the interrogatory began by asking him his name. Peter 
answered, " Balsam is the name of my family ; but I received that of Peter in 
baptism." 

Severus : "Of what family and of what country are you ? " 

26 


ST PETER BALSAM [January 3 

Peter : " I am a Christian." 

Severus : " What is your employment ? " 

Peter : " What employment can I have more honourable, or what better thing 
can I do in the world, than to live as a Christian ? " 

Severus : " Do you know the imperial edicts ? " 

Peter : " I know the laws of God, the sovereign of the universe." 

Severus : " You shall quickly know that there is an edict of the most clement 
emperors, commanding all to sacrifice to the gods, or be put to death." 

Peter : " You will also know one day that there is a law of the eternal King, 
proclaiming that everyone shall perish who offers sacrifice to devils. Which do you 
counsel me to obey, and which, think you, ought I to choose — to die by your sword, 
or to be condemned to everlasting misery by the sentence of the great King, the 
true God ? " 

Severus : " Since you ask my advice, it is that you obey the edict, and sacrifice 
to the gods." 

Peter : "I can never be prevailed upon to sacrifice to gods of wood and stone, 
as those are which you worship." 

Severus : "I would have you know that it is in my power to avenge these 
affronts by putting you to death." 

Peter : " I had no intention of affronting you. I only expressed what is 
written in the divine law." 

Severus : " Have compassion on yourself, and sacrifice." 

Peter : " If I am truly compassionate to myself, I ought not to sacrifice." 

Severus : " I want to be lenient ; I therefore still allow you time to reflect, 
that you may save your life." 

Peter : " This delay will be to no purpose for I shall not alter my mind ; do 
now what you will be obliged to do soon, and complete the work which the devil, 
your father, has begun ; for I will never do what Jesus Christ forbids me." 

Severus, on hearing these words, ordered him to be stretched upon the rack, 
and whilst he was suspended said to him scoflingly, " What say you now, Peter ; 
do you begin to know what the rack is ? Are you yet willing to sacrifice ? " Peter 
answered, " Tear me with hooks, and talk not of my sacrificing to your devils : 
I have already told you, that I will sacrifice only to that God for whom I suffer." 
Hereupon the governor commanded his tortures to be redoubled. The martyr, 
far from any complaint, sung with alacrity those verses of the royal prophet, " One 
thing I have asked of the Lord ; this will I seek after : that I may dwell in the house 
of the Lord all the days of my life. I will take the chalice of salvation, and will call 
upon the name of the Lord." The spectators, seeing the martyr's blood run down 
in streams, cried out to him, " Obey the emperors ! Sacrifice, and rescue yourself 
from these torments ! " Peter replied, " Do you call these torments ? I feel no 
pain : but this I know, that if I be not faithful to my God I must expect real pain, 
such as cannot be conceived." The judge also said, " Sacrifice, Peter Balsam, or 
you will repent it." 

Peter : " Neither will I sacrifice, nor shall I repent it." 

Severus : "I am on the point of pronouncing sentence." 

Peter : " It is what I most earnestly desire." Severus then dictated the 
sentence in this manner : " It is our order that Peter Balsam, for having refused 
to obey the edict of the invincible emperors, and obstinately defending the law of 
a crucified man, be himself nailed to a cross." Thus it was that this glorious 

27 


January 3] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

martyr finished his triumph, at Aulana, on January 11 ; but he is honoured in the 
Roman Martyrology on January 3. 

There can be little doubt that Peter Balsam is to be identified with the martyr Peter 
Abselamus, whom Eusebius (De Martyribus Palest., x, 2-3) describes as having been burnt 
to death at Caesarea. For this and other reasons very different opinions have been held as 
to the trustworthiness of the narrative given above. Ruinart, and even Bardenhewer 
(Geschichte der altkirchl. Literatur, vol. ii, p. 640), treat the acts as authentic. P. Allard 
(Hist, des persecutions, vol. v, p. 126) and H. Leclercq (Les Martyrs, vol. ii, p. 323) believe 
them to have been compiled inaccurately ; Father Delehaye more logically (Legendes Hagio- 
graphiques, p. 114) considers that the narrative must be regarded as a historical romance 
founded on a basis of genuine fact. See also Harnack Chronol. Altchrist. Lit., vol. ii, p. 474. 

ST GENEVIEVE, or GENOVEFA, Virgin (c. ad. 500) 

Genevieve's father's name was Severus, and her mother's Gerontia ; she was born 
about the year 422 at Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris, near Mont 
Valerien. When St Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, went with St Lupus into 
Britain to oppose the Pelagian heresy, he spent a night at Nanterre on his way. The 
inhabitants flocked about them to receive their blessing, and St Germanus gave an 
address, during which he took particular notice of Genevieve, though she was only 
seven years of age. After his sermon he inquired for her parents, and foretold their 
daughter's future sanctity. He then asked Genevieve whether it was not her desire 
to serve God only and to be naught else but a spouse of Jesus Christ. She answered 
that this was what she desired, and begged that by his blessing she might be from 
that moment consecrated to God. The holy prelate went to the church, followed 
by the people, and during the long singing of psalms and prayers, says Constantius 
— that is, during the recital of None and Vespers, as one text of the Life of St 
Genevieve expresses it — he laid his hand upon the maiden's head. After he had 
supped he dismissed her, telling her parents to bring her again to him the next 
morning. The father obeyed, and St Germanus asked the child whether she 
remembered the promise she had made to God. She said she did, and declared 
that she hoped to keep her word. The bishop gave her a medal or coin, on which 
a cross was engraved, to wear about her neck, in memory of the consecration she had 
received the day before ; and he charged her never to wear bracelets or jewels or 
other trinkets. The author of her life tells us that the child, begging one day that 
she might go to church, her mother struck her on the face, but in punishment lost 
her sight ; she only recovered it two months after, by washing her eyes with water 
which her daughter fetched from the well and over which she had made the sign 
of the cross. Hence the people look upon the well at Nanterre as having been 
blessed by the saint. 

When she was about fifteen years of age, Genevieve was presented to the bishop 
of Paris to receive the religious veil, together with two other girls. Though she 
was the youngest of the three, the bishop gave her the first place, saying that 
Heaven had already sanctified her, by which he seems to have alluded to her 
promise of consecrating herself to God. From that time she frequently ate only 
twice in the week, on Sundays and Thursdays, and her food was barley bread with 
a few beans. After the death of her parents she left Nanterre, and settled with her 
godmother in Paris, but sometimes undertook journeys for motives of charity. The 
cities of Meaux, Laon, Tours, Orleans and all other places she visited bore witness 
to her miracles and remarkable predictions. God permitted her to meet with some 

28 


ST GENEVIEVE, OR GENOVEFA [January 3 

severe trials ; for at a certain time everybody seemed to be against her, and perse- 
cuted her under the opprobrious names of visionary, hypocrite and the like. The 
arrival of St Germanus at Paris, probably on his second journey to Britain, for some 
time silenced her calumniators ; but it was not long before the storm broke out 
anew. Her enemies were fully determined to discredit and even to drown her, 
when the archdeacon of Auxerre arrived with eulogiae, blessed bread, sent her by 
St Germanus as a testimony of his particular esteem and a token of communion. 
This seems to have happened whilst Germanus was absent in Italy in 448. The 
tribute thus paid her converted the prejudices of her calumniators into veneration 
for the remainder of her life. 

The Franks had at this time gained possession of the better part of Gaul, and 
Childeric, their king, took Paris. During the long blockade of that city, the citizens 
being reduced to extremities by famine, St Genevieve, as the author of her life 
relates, went out at the head of a company who were sent to procure provisions, 
and brought back from Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes several boats laden with corn. 
Childeric, when he had made himself master of Paris, though always a pagan, 
respected St Genevieve, and upon her intercession spared the lives of many 
prisoners and did other generous acts. She also awakened the zeal of many persons 
to build a church in honour of St Dionysius of Paris, which King Dagobert I 
afterwards rebuilt with a monastery in 629. St Genevieve likewise undertook many 
pilgrimages, in company with other maidens, to the shrine of St Martin at Tours, 
and the reputation of her holiness is said to have been so great that her fame even 
reached St Simeon Stylites in Syria. King Clovis, who embraced the faith in 496, 
often listened with deference to St Genevieve, and more than once granted liberty 
to captives at her request. Upon the report of the march of Attila with hi? army 
of Huns the Parisians were preparing to abandon their city, but St Genevieve, like 
a Christian Judith or Esther, encouraged them to avert the scourge by fasting and 
prayer. Many of her own sex passed whole days with her in prayer in the bap- 
tistery ; from whence the particular devotion to St Genevieve, formerly practised 
at S.-Jean-le-Rond, the ancient public baptistery of the church of Paris, seems to 
have taken rise. She assured the people of the protection of Heaven, and though 
she was treated by many as an impostor, the event verified the prediction, for the 
barbarous invader suddenly changed the course of his march. Our author attri- 
butes to St Genevieve the first suggestion of the church which Clovis began to build 
in honour of SS. Peter and Paul, in deference to the wishes of his wife, St Clotilda, 
in which church the body of St Genevieve herself was enshrined after her death 
about the year 500. 

The miracles which were performed there from the time of her burial rendered 
this church famous over all France, so that at length it began to be known by her 
name. The fabric, however, fell into decay, and a new church was begun in 1764. 
This has long been secularized and, under the name of the Pantheon, is now used 
as a national mausoleum. The city of Paris has frequently received sensible proofs 
of the divine protection, through St Genevieve's intercession. The most famous 
instance is that called the miracle des Ar dents, or of the burning fever. In 1129 a 
disease, apparently poisoning by ergot, swept off in a short time many thousand 
persons, nor could the art of physicians afford any relief. Stephen, Bishop of 
Paris, with the clergy and people, implored the divine mercy by fasting and sup- 
plications. Yet the epidemic did not abate till the shrine of St Genevieve was 
carried in a solemn procession to the cathedral. Many sick persons were cured by 

29 


January 4] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

touching the shrine, and of all who then were suffering from the disease in the whole 
town only three died, and no others fell ill. Pope Innocent II, coming to Paris the 
year following, after due investigation ordered an annual festival in commemoration 
of the miracle on November 26, which is still kept in Paris. It was formerly the 
custom, in extraordinary public calamities, to carry the shrine of St Genevieve in 
procession to the cathedral. The greater part of the relics of the saint were 
destroyed or pillaged at the French Revolution. 

The ancient life of S t Genevieve from which most of the above account is derived, and 
which purports to h ave been written by a contemporary eighteen years after the saint's death, 
has been the subjec t of keen controversy. There are three principal recensions of it, known 
respectively as the A, B and C texts. Text A has been edited by B. Krusch in MGH., 
Scriptores Merov., vol. iii (1896). Text B is printed in the very valuable essay of C. Kohler, 
Etude critique sur le texte de la vie latine de Sainte Genevieve (1881), and Text C may be found 
in the Teubner edition of the Vita Sanctae Genovefae, edited by C. Kiinstle in 1910. Al- 
though Text C has in its favour the authority of the oldest manuscripts (eighth century), the 
priority of that recension is by no means generally admitted. But the more important 
controversy is that regarding the authenticity of the life itself. Bruno Krusch declares it 
to be a forgery, and that the author, instead of being a contemporary as he pretends, did not 
compile the life until more than 250 years later, towards the close of the eighth century. It 
is impossible here to do more than mention the acrimonious discussion to which Krusch's 
pronouncement has given rise. It must be sufficient to say that his views have by no means 
carried with them the support of the majority of competent critics. Such scholars as Mgr 
Duchesne, Prof. G. Kurth, C. Kiinstle and A. Poncelet strenuously maintain that the life 
was really written by a contemporary, and that, so far as regards the substance of its contents, 
it is trustworthy. Readers will find an excellent summary of all that is really known about 
St Genevieve in H. Les^tre, Ste Genevieve (in the series " Les Saints "), and in the essay of 
E. Vacandard, Etudes de critique, vol. iv, pp. 67-124, and 255-266. For a charming popular 
account of the saint, see M. Reynes-Monlaur, Ste Genevieve (1924). A story in the life tells 
how the devil, when St Genevieve went to pray in the church at night, blew out her candle to 
frighten her. She is, therefore, often represented in art with a candle. Sometimes the devil 
and a pair of bellows are also depicted beside her. 

ST BERTILIA OF MAREUIL, Widow (Eighth Century) 

The life of St Bertilia was an uneventful one. Born of noble parents, she spent her 
youth in exercises of charity. In due time she married a noble youth, and they 
spent their lives helping the poor and sick. On the death of her husband she lived 
the life of a solitary at Mareuil in the diocese of Arras, where she built a church 
which her cell adjoined. She died early in the eighth century, and must be 
distinguished from her contemporary St Bertila of Chelles. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 3 ; Parenty, Histoire de Ste Bertilie (1847) ; Destombes, 
Vies des saints des dioceses de Cambrai et d' Arras, vol. i, pp. 37 seq. ; and P. Bertin, Ste Bertilie 
de Maroeuil (1943). W. Levison has produced a critical edition of the text of the life, with 
a valuable introduction, in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi, pp. 95-109. 


• 


ST GREGORY, Bishop of Langres (a.d. 539) 


THIS saint is well known to us from the writings of St Gregory of Tours, 
who was his great-grandson. Of very distinguished birth, he for forty 
years governed the district of Autun as count (comes), administering justice 
equitably but sternly. It was only late in life, after the death of his wife Armentaria, 
that he turned from the world and gave himself unreservedly to God. The clergy 

30 


ST PHARAILDIS [January 4 

and people then elected him bishop of Langres, and for the rest of his days he 
showed an admirable example of devotion to his pastoral duties. His abstemious- 
ness in food and drink, which he was ingenious in concealing from the knowledge 
of others, was remarkable, and he often gave the hours of the night to prayer, 
frequenting especially the baptistery of Dijon, in which town he commonly lived. 
There the saints came to visit him and join him in chanting the praises of God ; in 
particular St Benignus, the apostle of Burgundy, whose cultus he had at first 
neglected, after some words of fatherly rebuke directed him to restore his dilapidated 
shrine, which has ever since been so famous in Dijon. It was here that Gregory 
himself, who died at Langres in 539, was brought to be buried in accordance with 
his own desire. His epitaph, composed by Venantius Fortunatus, suggests that 
any severity he had displayed as a secular ruler was expiated by the tender charity 
he showed to all in his last years. Even in the miracles recorded after death he 
seemed to give the preference to. captives who had been arrested by the officers of 
human justice. 

See Gregory of Tours, Vitae patrum, bk vii ; Historia Francorum, bks iii, iv and v ; and 
De gloria martyrum, li, L. Duchesne, Fastes Episcopaux, vol. ii, pp. 185-186 ; DCB., vol. ii, 
P- 770. 

ST PHARAILDIS, Virgin (c. a.d. 740) 

There is a great deal which is extremely confused and improbable in the accounts 
preserved to us of this Belgian saint, and it is difficult to know how much of her 
legend can be regarded as based on historical fact. The main feature of her story 
is that, though she had secretly consecrated her virginity to God, she was given in 
marriage by her parents to a wealthy suitor, without any adequate consent on her 
part. Resolutely determined to keep her vow, she refused to live with him 
maritalement, and lie on his part treated her brutally. God protected her, until 
at last the husband died. Little else is recorded of her except miracles and the 
numerous translations of her remains. There cannot, however, be any doubt that 
she became a very popular saint in Flanders, and that her cultus supplies abundant 
matter of interest to the student of folklore. Among her own countryfolk she is 
called most commonly St Varelde, Verylde or Veerle. She is represented some- 
times with a goose, sometimes with loaves of bread, and more rarely with a cat. 
The goose may have reference to a story told of her, as also of St Werburga, that 
when a goose had been plucked and cooked the saint restored it to life and full 
plumage. But it may also be connected with the city of Ghent or Gand, where 
her relics repose, for in Flemish, as in German, gans (cf. English " gander ") means 
a goose. The bread without doubt must have been suggested by a miracle said to 
have been worked beside her tomb, when an uncharitable woman who had been 
asked to give a loaf to a beggar declared that she had none, and then discovered that 
the loaves she had been hiding were turned into stones. St Pharaildis is also 
supposed to have caused a fountain of water to spring out of the ground at Bruay, 
near Valenciennes, to relieve the thirst of the harvesters who were reaping for her. 
The water of this spring is believed to be of efficacy in children's disorders, and she 
is constantly invoked by mothers who are anxious about the health of their little ones. 

See Hautecoeur, Actes de Ste Pharaildis (1882) ; Destombes, Vies des saints de Cambrai 
et Arras, vol. i, pp. 30-36 ; L. van der Essen, Etude critique sur les Vitae des saints merovingiens 
(1907), pp. 303 seq. ; H. Detzel, Christliche Ikonographie (1896), vol. ii, p. 583. 

31 


January 4] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST RIGOBERT, Archbishop of Rheims (c. a.d. 745) 

Rigobert seems to have been first of all abbot of Orbais, and afterwards to have 
been elected to the see of Rheims, but it is not easy to adjust the chronology, and 
his life, written much later, at the close of the ninth century, cannot be depended 
upon. St Rigobert, it would appear, offended Charles Martel because he would 
not takes sides against Raganfred, the mayor of Neustria. Charles accordingly 
banished Rigobert to Gascony and gave his bishopric to Milon, who already held 
the temporalities of the see of Trier. In the end some compromise was effected, 
and the saint was allowed again to officiate in Rheims. His patient acceptance of 
all trials, his love of retirement and prayer, and the miraculous cures attributed to 
him, gained him the repute of high sanctity. He must have died between 740 
and 750. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 4 ; Levison in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vii, pp. 54-80 ; 
and Duchesne, Fastes fipiscopaux, vol. iii, pp. 85-86. There is a very important general 
paper on Charles Martel and his bishops : " Milo et eiusmodi similes ", by Eugen Ewig, in 
St Bonifatius. Gedenkgabe zum zwolfhundertjahrigen Todestag (Fulda, 1954), pp. 412-440. 

BD ROGER OF ELLANT (a.d. 1160) 

Bd Roger of Ellant takes his name from the monastery of Ellant in the diocese 
of Rheims, founded by him in the twelfth century. By birth an Englishman, he 
had crossed over to France and entered the Cistercian monastery of Lorroy in 
Berry. Noted for his poverty and his exactness in carrying out the rule, he was 
chosen to found and build a new monastery at Ellant. The sick and the suffering 
were the object of his particular care. A chapel was dedicated in his honour in the 
abbey church where his body was buried. He died January 4, 1160. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 4 ; and Gallia Christiana, vol. ix, p. 310. 

BD ORINGA, Virgin (a.d. 13 10) 

Although there is no reason to doubt her historical existence, the story of Bd 
Oringa's life, told by biographers of late date, is little more than legend. She 
seems to have been born and also to have spent her last years at Castello di Santa 
Croce in the valley of the Arno. It is also probably true that she gathered round 
her a band of devout women and lived with them under the Rule of St Augustine. 
But the rest is a patchwork of vague traditions worked up with fictitious embellish- 
ments. As a child, when she tended the cattle, we are told that she went aside to 
pray, bidding the dumb beasts not to touch the crops, and that they always obeyed 
her. Her brothers beat her because she refused to marry, but she took refuge in 
the river, or crossed it, without ever getting wet. At length Oringa ran away from 
home. Night came upon her before she could reach Lucca, her destination, but 
a hare came to her, played with her, and finally went to sleep in her arms. In the 
morning it ran before her and guided her safely to the town for which she was 
bound. After many pilgrimages and adventures, during which she was always 
protected from harm, leading a life of extreme poverty and continual prayer, she 
returned to her native place and founded a convent there. 

See Acta Sanctorum, under January 10 (The Augustinians keep her feast on January 4) ; 
and a popular sketch by M. Baciocchi de Peon, La vergine Oringa (1926). 

32 


ST SYNCLETICA [January 5 


5: 


ST TELESPHORUS, Pope and Martyr (c. a.d. 136) 


ST Telesphorus, who figures in the list of popes as the seventh bishop of Rome, 
is said to have been a Greek by birth. Towards the year 126 he succeeded St 
Sixtus I, and saw the havoc which the persecution of Hadrian made in the 
Church. " He ended his life by a glorious martyrdom ", says Eusebius, and he is the 
first one of the successors of St Peter whom St Irenaeus and other early writers refer 
to as a martyr. The ordinances attributed to him in the Liber Pontificalis, e.g. 
that the Mass of Christmas — a feast that did not then exist — should be celebrated 
at midnight, cannot with any probability be ascribed to his pontificate. St Teles- 
phorus is commemorated to-day in the Mass and Office of the vigil of the Epiphany. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, January 5 ; and the Liber Pontificalis (ed. Duchesne), vol. i, 
p. 129. In the calendar of the Carmelites this pope is claimed as a member of their order, 
but it is difficult to understand what historical basis can be pleaded for such a claim. 

ST APOLLINARIS, Virgin (No Date) 

Although the Roman Martyrology on January 5 has an entry, " In Egypt, St 
Apollinaris, Virgin ", the pretended biography which is found in the Metaphrast 
and the Greek menaia, under the name of Apollinaris Syncletica, belongs to the 
category of religious romances. It turns on the familiar theme of a girl putting 
on male attire and living for many years undiscovered. In this case Apollinaris, 
who is the daughter of the ** Emperor " Anthemius, runs away from home, dis- 
guises herself as a man, calls herself Dorotheus, and leads a hermitical life in the 
desert under the direction of the renowned ascetic, Macarius. Meanwhile her 
sister at home is possessed by the devil, and being brought to the desert to be 
exorcised, is eventually consigned to the care of " Dorotheus ". The sister is 
restored to her right mind, but owing to the machinations of the Evil One, " Doro- 
theus " is suspected of improper conduct. She is brought before her own father 
to answer the charge and then reveals herself to him. However, after obtaining 
her sister's complete cure by her prayers, she insists on returning to the desert, 
where her sex is only discovered by her fellow hermits after her death. The entry 
has probably been attracted to this day by the identity of the name Syncletica with 
that of the saint who is commemorated on the previous day in the Greek synaxaries 
and today in the Roman Martyrology (see below). 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 5 ; and cf. herein St Pelagia, under October 8. 

ST SYNCLETICA Virgin (c. a.d. 400) 

She was born at Alexandria in Egypt, of wealthy Macedonian parents. Her great 
fortune and beauty induced many young men to become her suitors, but she had 
already bestowed her heart on her heavenly Spouse. Flight was her refuge against 
exterior assaults, and, regarding herself as her own most dangerous enemy, she 
began early to subdue her flesh by fasts and other mortifications. She never 
seemed to suffer more than when obliged to eat oftener than she desired. Her 
parents at their death left her sole heiress to their estate, for her two brothers had 
died before them and her sister, being blind, was committed entirely to her 
guardianship. Syncletica, having distributed her fortune among the poor, retired 
with her sister to a disused sepulchral chamber on the estate of a relative, where, 

33 


January 5] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

having sent for a priest, she cut off her hair in his presence as a sign whereby she 
renounced the world and renewed the consecration of herself to God. Prayer 
and good works were from that time her principal employment; but her strict 
retirement, by concealing her from the eyes of the world, has deprived us in a great 
measure of the knowledge of them. 

Many women resorted to her to ask counsel, and her humility made her un- 
willing to take upon herself the task of instructing ; but charity gave her courage 
to speak. Her discourses were inspired with so much zeal and accompanied by 
such an unfeigned humility that no words can express the deep impression they 
made on her hearers. " Oh ", exclaimed Syncletica, " how happy should we be, 
did we but take as much pains to gain Heaven and please God as worldlings do to 
heap up riches and perishable goods ! By land they venture among thieves and 
robbers ; at sea they expose themselves to winds and waves ; they suffer shipwrecks 
and perils ; they attempt all, dare all, hazard all : but we, in serving so great a 
Master, for so immense a good, are afraid of every contradiction." She frequently 
inculcated the virtue of humility : " A treasure is secure so long as it remains 
concealed ; but when once disclosed, and laid open to every bold invader, it is 
presently rifled ; so virtue is safe as long as it is secret, but if rashly exposed, it but 
too often evaporates in smoke." By these and the like discourses did this devout 
woman excite others to charity, vigilance and every other virtue. 

In the eightieth year of her age St Syncletica was seized with an inward burning 
fever ; at the same time her lungs were attacked, and a gangrenous affection ate 
away her jaws and mouth. She bore all with incredible patience and resignation, 
and during the last three months of her life she found no repose. Though the 
cancer had robbed her of speech, her patience served to preach to others more 
movingly than words could have done. Three days before her death she foresaw 
that on the third day she would be released from the prison of her body ; and when 
the hour came, surrounded by a heavenly light and ravished by consoling visions, 
she surrendered her soul into the hand s of her Creator, in the eighty-fourth year 
of her age. 

The ancient beautiful life of St Syncletica is quoted in the Lives of the Fathers published 
by Rosweyde, bk i, and in the writings of St John Climacus. It appears from the work itself 
that the author was personally acquainted with the saint. It has been ascribed to St Athanasius, 
but without sufficient grounds. See Acta Sanctorum for January 5. 

ST SIMEON THE STYLITE (ad. 459) 

St Simeon was, in his life and conduct, a subject of astonishment not only to the 
whole Roman empire, but also to many barbarous and infidel peoples who had the 
highest veneration for him. The Roman emperors solicited his prayers, and con- 
sulted him on matters of importance. It must, nevertheless, be acknowledged 
that his most remarkable actions are a subject of admiration, not of imitation. 
They may serve, notwithstanding, for our spiritual edification, as we cannot well 
reflect on his fervour without being confounded at our own indolence in the ser- 
vice of God. 

St Simeon was the son of a shepherd in Cilicia, on the borders of Syria, and at 
first kept his father's sheep. Being only thirteen years of age, about the year 402, 
he was much moved by hearing the beatitudes one day read in church, particularly 
the words, " Blessed are they that mourn ; blessed are the clean of heart ". The 
youth addressed himself to a certain old man to learn their meaning, and begged 

34 


ST SIMEON THE STYLITE [January 5 

to know how the happiness they promised was to be obtained. He was told that 
continual prayer, watching, fasting, weeping, humiliation and the patient suffering 
of persecution were pointed out by these texts as the road to true happiness ; and 
that a solitary life afforded the best opportunity for the practice of virtue. Simeon 
upon this withdrew to a little distance where, falling upon the ground, he besought 
Him who desires all to be saved to conduct him in the paths which lead to happiness 
and perfection. At length, falling asleep, he had a vision, which he often related 
afterwards. He seemed to himself to be digging for the foundation of a house, 
and that as often as he stopped to take a little breath, which was four times, he was 
commanded each time to dig deeper, till at length he was told he might desist, the 
pit being deep enough to receive the intended foundation, on which he would be 
able to raise a superstructure of what kind and to what height he pleased. " The 
event ", says Theodoret, " verified the prediction ; the actions of this wonderful 
man were so much above nature, that they might well require deep foundations to 
build such a structure securely." 

Rising from the ground, he went to a monastery near at hand ruled by an abbot 
called Timothy. There he remained at the gate for several days, without either 
eating or drinking, begging to be admitted on the footing of the lowest servant in 
the house. His petition was granted, and he complied with the terms of it for four 
months. During this time he learned the psalter by heart, and his familiarity with 
the sacred words greatly helped to nourish his soul. Though still no more than 
a boy, he practised all the austerities of the house, and by his humility and charity 
gained the good-will of all the monks. Having here spent two years, he removed 
to the monastery of Heliodorus, who had spent sixty-two years in that community 
so abstracted from the world as to be utterly ignorant of it, as Theodoret relates, 
who knew him well. Here Simeon much increased his mortifications. Judging 
the tough rope of the well, made of twisted palm leaves, a proper instrument of 
penance, he tied it close about his naked body, where it remained, unknown both 
to the community and his superior, till it ate into his flesh. Three days successively 
his clothes, which clung to it, had to be softened with liquids to disengage them ; 
and the incisions made to cut the cord out of his body were attended with such pain 
that he lay for some time as dead. On his recovery the abbot, as a warning to the 
rest to avoid such dangerous singularities, dismissed him. 

After this he repaired to a hermitage at the foot of Mount Telanissae, where he 
resolved to pass the whole forty days of Lent in total abstinence, after the example 
of Christ, without either eating or drinking. Bassus, a priest to whom he com- 
municated his design, gave him ten loaves and some water, that he might eat if he 
found it necessary. At the expiration of the forty days Bassus came to visit him, 
and found the loaves and water untouched, but Simeon lay stretched on the ground 
almost without any signs of life. Taking a sponge, he moistened his lips with 
water, then gave him the blessed Eucharist. Simeon having recovered a little, 
rose up, and by degrees found himself able to swallow a few lettuce-leaves. This 
was his method of keeping Lent during the remainder of his life ; and he had 
passed twenty-six Lents after this manner when Theodoret wrote his account of 
him ; in which he adds other particulars — that Simeon spent the first part of Lent 
in praising God standing ; growing weaker, he continued his prayer sitting ; while 
towards the end, being unable to support himself in any other posture, he lay on 
the ground. However, it is probable that in his advanced years he admitted some 
mitigation of this incredible austerity. When on his pillar, he kept himself during 

35 


January 5] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

this fast tied to a pole ; but in the end was able to fast the whole term without any 
support. Some attribute this to the strength of his constitution, which was 
naturally very robust, and had been gradually habituated to an extreme privation 
of food. It is well known that the hot climate affords surprising instances of long 
abstinence among the Indians. A native of France has, within our memory, fasted 
the forty days of Lent almost in the same manner.* But few examples occur of 
persons abstaining entirely from food for many days unless prepared and inured 
by habit. 

After three years spent in this hermitage the saint removed to the top of the 
same mountain, where he made an inclosure, but without any roof or shelter to 
protect him from the weather ; and to confirm his resolution of pursuing this 
manner of life, he fastened his right leg to a rock with a chain. Meletius, vicar to 
the patriarch of Antioch, told him that a firm will, supported by God's good grace, 
would enable him to abide in his solitary inclosure without having recourse to any 
bodily restraint ; whereupon the obedient servant of God sent for a smith and had 
his chains knocked off. But visitors began to throng to the mountain, and the 
solitude his soul sighed after came to be interrupted by the multitudes that flocked 
to receive his benediction, by which many sick recovered their health. Some were 
not satisfied unless they also touched him. 

So Simeon, to remove these causes of distraction, projected for himself a new 
and unprecedented manner of life. In 423 he erected a pillar six cubitsf high, 
and on it he dwelt four years ; on a second, twelve cubits high, he lived three years ; 
on a third, twenty-two cubits high, ten years ; and on a fourth, forty cubits high, 
built for him by the people, he spent the last twenty years of his life. Thus he 
lived thirty-seven years on pillars, and was called Stylites, from the Greek word 
stylos, which signifies a pillar. This singularity was at first censured by all as a 
piece of extravagance. To make trial of his humility an order was sent him in the 
name of the neighbouring bishops and abbots to quit his pillar and give up his new 
manner of life. The saint at once made ready to come down ; but the messenger 
said that, as he had shown a willingness to obey, it was their desire that he should 
follow his vocation in God. 

His pillar did not exceed six feet in diameter at the top, which made it difficult 
for him to lie extended on it ; neither would he allow a seat. He only stooped, 
or leaned, to take a little rest, and often in the day bowed his body in prayer. A 
visitor once reckoned 1,244 such profound reverences made by him at one time. 
He made exhortations to the people twice a day. His garments were the skins of 
beasts, and he never suffered any woman to come within the inclosure where his 
pillar stood. His disciple Antony mentions that he prayed most fervently for the 
soul of his mother after her decease. 

God is sometimes pleased to conduct certain souls through extraordinary paths, 
in which others would find only danger of illusion and self-will. We should, 
notwithstanding, consider that the holiness of these persons does not consist in 
such wonderful actions or in their miracles, but in the perfection of their charity, 

* Dom Claude Leaute, a Benedictine monk of the congregation of Saint-Maur. This fact 
is attested by his brethren and superiors in a relation printed at Sens in 1731 ; and recorded 
by Dom L'Isle in his History of Fasting. (Some other remarkable examples may be found 
cited by Father Thurston in two articles in The Month, February and March, 1921, on " The 
Mystic as a Hunger Striker ".) 

t A cubit was a measure of from 18 to 22 inches. 

36 


ST CONVOYON [January 5 

patience and humility ; and it was these solid virtues which shone so conspicuously 
in the life of St Simeon. He exhorted people vehemently against the horrible 
custom of swearing ; as also to observe strict justice, to take no usury, to be earnest 
in their piety, and to pray for the salvation of souls. The great deference paid to 
his instructions, even by barbarians, cannot be described. Many Persians, 
Armenians and Iberians were converted by his miracles or by his discourses, which 
they crowded to hear. The Emperors Theodosius and Leo I often consulted him 
and desired his prayers. The Emperor Marcian visited him in disguise. By an 
invincible patience he bore all afflictions and rebukes without a word of complaint ; 
he sincerely looked upon himself as the outcast of the world ; and he spoke to all 
with the most engaging sweetness and charity. Domnus, Patriarch of Antioch, 
and others brought him holy communion on his pillar. In 459, on a Wednesday, 
September 2 (or as some say, on the previous July 24, a Friday), this incomparable 
penitent, bowing on his pillar as if intent on prayer, gave up the ghost, in the sixty- 
ninth year of his age. Two days later his body was conveyed to Antioch, attended 
by the bishops and the whole country. Many miracles, related by Evagrius, 
Antony and Cosmas, were wrought on this occasion. 

Incredible as some of the feats of endurance may seem which are attributed to St Simeon 
the Elder and to the other Stylites, or " Pillar-Saints ", his imitators, there can be no doubt 
that the facts are vouched for by the best historical evidence. The church historian Theo- 
doret, for example, who is one of our principal authorities, knew Simeon well, possessed his 
confidence, and wrote his account while the saint was still living. The whole question of this 
extraordinary phase of asceticism is discussed with great thoroughness by Hippolyte Delehaye, 
in his monograph Les Saints Stylites (1923). This supersedes all previous works on the 
subject. A popular summary by Fr Thurston of the outstanding features of this mpde of 
life, based upon Delehaye 's researches, may be found in the Irish quarterly Studies, December, 
1923, pp. 584-596. Besides the account of Theodoret, we have two other primary authorities 
for the life of St Simeon : one the Greek biography by his disciple and contemporary Antony, 
the other the Syriac, which also must certainly have been written within fifty years of the 
saint's death. Both these texts have been critically edited by Lietzmann in his Das Leben 
des heiligen Symeon Stylites (1908) ; see also P. Peeters on Simeon's earliest biographers, in 
Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxi (1943), pp. 71 seq. Between the Syriac and the Greek accounts 
there are a good many points of divergence in matters of detail which cannot be gone into 
here. In the Roman Martyrology St Simeon is commemorated on January 5, and the 
Bollandists and Butler have followed this example. On a tree-dweller (dendrite) see A. 
Vasiliev, " Life of David of Thessalonika ", in Traditio, vol. iv (1946), pp. 1 15-147. 

ST CONVOYON, Abbot (a.d. 868) 

In 1866 Pope Pius IX approved the cultus which from time immemorial had been 
paid in the neighbourhood of Redon in Brittany to the Benedictine monk who was 
the founder and abbot of the monastery of Saint Saviour. He was himself a 
Breton by birth, and it was in 831 that he, with six companions, obtained a grant 
of land on which to build an abbey. In the disturbed political conditions of the 
time, the early years of the new foundation seem to have been full of privation and 
hardship. Owing in part to a charge of simony brought against certain bishops of 
the province, Convoyon in 848 found himself a member of a deputation sent to 
Rome to appeal to Pope Leo IV. He is said tc have brought back with him to 
his monastery a chasuble which Leo gave him, and also the relics of Pope St Marcel- 
linus. Later Convoyon was driven from his monastery by the incursions of the 
Norsemen, and was absent from it at the time of his death in 868. In 1866 the 
abbey of Saint Saviour at Redon had passed into the hands of a community of 

37 


January 5] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the Eudist fathers, who were very active in procuring the confirmation of cultus 
for this local saint. 

Mabillon (vol. iv, 2, pp. 188 seq.) prints two lives of St Convoyon, one of which purports 
to be written by a contemporary. An interesting summary of the case presented to obtain 
confirmation of the cult may be found in the Analecta Juris Pontificii (1866), vol. viii, pp. 
2177 seq. See also Lobineau, Saints de la Bretagne, vol. ii, pp. 261 seq. 

ST DOROTHEUS THE YOUNGER, Abbot (Eleventh Century) 

Trebizond, on the Black Sea, was the birthplace of St Dorotheus the Younger, who 
is also known as St Dorotheus of Khiliokomos. He came of a patrician family, 
but ran away from home at the age of twelve to escape from a marriage which his 
parents were forcing upon him. After wandering for some time he reached the 
monastery of Genna at Amisos (the present Samsun), in Pontus, where he received 
the habit from the Abbot John. He became a pattern of monastic virtue and was 
raised to the priesthood. Besides being endowed with the gift of prophecy he was 
frequently rapt in ecstasy. One day when he was on an errand outside the monas- 
tery, a mysterious stranger told him to found a community on a mountain near 
Amisos, at a spot which he indicated, and to dedicate it to the Holy Trinity. 
Dorotheus was loth to leave his brethren, besides being uncertain as to the nature 
of the call, but his abbot bade him obey. The saint accordingly began to build, 
having at first only one companion to assist him. Other disciples soon gathered 
round him and he became the abbot of a great monastery to which he gave the name 
of Khiliokomos. Among many miracles with which he is credited he is said to 
have multiplied corn, to have saved from shipwreck a vessel far away out at sea and 
on another occasion by invoking the Holy Trinity to have caused a huge stone 
which crashed down during the building operations to rise unassisted and resume 
its proper place. 

The text of the Greek life writen by his disciple John Mauropus is printed in the Acta 
Sanctorum, June, vol. i. 

ST GERLAG (c. a.d. 1170) 

In the neighbourhood of Valkenburg (Holland) there is still a holy well called after 
St Gerlac. According to an almost contemporary biography, the hermit used this 
water while for seven years he lived his solitary life in the hollow of a tree. In 
early manhood he was devoted to feats of arms, and gave himself up to all the vices 
of the camp, but the news of the sudden death of his wife opened his eyes to the 
danger of his position. He said good-bye to the world and set out for Rome. 
There he did seven years' penance, tending the sick in the hospitals and practising 
great austerities. Afterwards he obtained the pope's sanction to become a hermit 
without entering a religious order. For the place of his solitary life he chose a 
hollow tree, situated on his own estate, although, on his coming back to his native 
city, he had given his possessions to the poor. The nearest church was at a 
considerable distance, yet for seven years he made his way thither over difficult 
ground at all seasons of the year, to be present at the divine offices. The monks 
considered his vocation an anomaly, and tried to force the bishop to make him enter 
their monastery. The quarrel was embittered by calumny, and the feeling against 
Gerlac became so incredibly violent that the monks refused him the sacraments as 
he lay dying. According to his biographer, Gerlac received the last rites from a 

38 


THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST [January 6 

venerable old man who entered his cell, gave him viaticum, anointed him, and then 
was never seen again. 

Acta Sanctorum, January 5 ; F. Wesselmann, Der hi. Gerlach von Houthem (1897). 
Although Gerlac was never canonized, fragments are extant of a liturgical office which was 
recited in his honour. 


6 l THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST 

EPIPHANY, which in Greek signifies appearance or manifestation, is a 
festival principally solemnized in honour of the revelation Jesus Christ made 
of Himself to the Magi, or wise men ; who, soon after His birth, by a par- 
ticular inspiration of Almighty God, came to worship Him and bring Him presents. 
Two other manifestations of our Lord are jointly commemorated on this day in the 
office of the Church : that at His baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended on 
Him in the visible form of a dove, and a voice from Heaven was heard at the same 
time : " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; " and that of His 
divine power at the doing of His first miracle, the changing of water into wine at 
the marriage of Cana, by which He manifested His glory, and His disciples believed 
in Him. Upon all these accounts this festival lays claim to a more than ordinary 
regard and veneration ; but from none more than us Gentiles, who in the person 
of the wise men, our first-fruits and forerunners, were on this day called to the faith 
and worship of the true God. 

The summons of the Gentiles to Bethlehem to pay homage to the world's 
Redeemer was obeyed by several whom the Bible mentions under the name 
and title of Magi, or wise men ; but is silent as to their number. The general 
opinion, supported by the authority of St Leo, Caesarius, Bede and others, declares 
for three. However, the number was small in comparison with those many others 
who saw that star no less than the wise men, but paid no regard to it ; admiring, 
no doubt, its unusual brightness, but indifferent to its divine message, or hardening 
their hearts against any salutary impression, enslaved by their passions and self- 
love. Steadfast in the resolution of following the divine call and fearless of 
danger, the Magi inquire in Jerusalem with confidence and pursue their inquiry 
in the very court of Herod himself ; " Where is He that is born King of the Jews ? " 
The whole nation of the Jews on account of Jacob's and Daniel's prophecies was 
in expectation of the Messiah's appearance among them, and the circumstances 
having been also foretold, the wise men, by the interposition of Herod's authority, 
quickly learned from the Sanhedrin, or great council of the Jews, that Bethlehem 
was the place which was to be honoured with His birth, as had been pointed out 
by the prophet Micheas many centuries before. 

The wise men readily comply with the voice of the Sanhedrin, notwithstanding 
the little encouragement these Jewish leaders afford them by their own example 
to persist in their search : for not one single priest or scribe is disposed to bear 
them company in seeking after and paying homage to their own king. No sooner 
had they left Jerusalem but, to encourage their faith, God was pleased again to show 
them the star which they had seen in the East, and it continued to go before them 
till it conducted them to the very place where they were to see and worship their 

39 


January 6] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Saviour. The star, by ceasing to advance, tells them in its mute language, " Here 
shall you find the new-born King." The holy men entered the poor place, 
rendered more glorious by this birth than the most stately palace in the universe ; 
and finding the Child with His mother, they prostrate themselves, they worship 
Him, they pour forth their souls in His presence. St Leo thus extols their faith 
and devotion : " When a star had conducted them to worship Jesus, they did not 
find Him commanding devils or raising the dead or restoring sight to the blind or 
speech to the dumb, or employed in any divine action ; but a silent babe, dependent 
upon a mother's care, giving no sign of power but exhibiting a miracle of humility.' ' 
The Magi offer to Jesus as a token of homage the richest produce their countries 
afforded — gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold, as an acknowledgement of His 
regal power ; incense, as a confession of His Godhead ; and myrrh, as a testimony 
that He was become man for the redemption of the world. But their far more 
acceptable presents were the dispositions they cherished in their souls : their 
fervent charity, signified by gold ; their devotion, figured by frankincense ; and 
the unreserved sacrifice of themselves, represented by myrrh. 

The earliest mention of a Christian festival celebrated on January 6 seems to 
occur in the Stromata (i, 21) of Clement of Alexandria, who died before 216. He 
states that the gnostic sect of the Basilidians kept the commemoration of our 
Saviour's baptism with great solemnity on dates held to correspond with the 10th 
and 6th of January respectively. The notice might seem of little importance were 
it not for the fact that in the course of the next two centuries there is abundant 
evidence that January 6 had come to be observed throughout the East as a festival 
of high importance, and was always closely associated with the baptism of our 
Lord. In a document known as the " Canons of Athanasius ", whose text may 
in substance belong to the time of St Athanasius, say a.d. 370, the writer recognizes 
only three great feasts in the year — Easter, Pentecost and the Epiphany. He 
directs that a bishop ought to gather the poor together on solemn occasions, notably 
upon " the great festival of the Lord " (Easter) ; Pentecost, " when the Holy Ghost 
came down upon the Church " ; and " the feast of the Lord's Epiphany, which 
was in the month Tubi, that is the feast of Baptism " (canon 16) ; and he specifies 
again in canon 66, " the feast of the Pasch, and the feast of the Pentecost and the 
feast of the Epiphany, which is the nth day of the month Tubi." 

According to oriental ideas it was through the divine pronouncement " this is 
my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased " that the Saviour was first manifested 
to the great world of unbelievers. In the opinion of the Greek fathers, the 
Epiphany (eVt^aveta, showing forth), which is also called 0€o<f>dveia (manifesta- 
tion of the deity) and r<x (fxjora (illumination), was identified primarily with the 
scene beside the Jordan. St John Chrysostom, preaching at Antioch in 386, asks, 
" How does it happen that not the day on which our Lord was born, but that on 
which He was baptized, is called the Epiphany ? " And then, after dwelling upon 
certain details of liturgical observance, particularly the blessing of water which 
the faithful took home with them and preserved for a twelvemonth — he seems to 
suggest that the fact of the water remaining sweet must be due to some miracle — 
the saint comes back to his own question : " We give ", he says, " the name 
Epiphany to the day of our Lord's baptism because He was not made manifest to 
all when he was born, but only when He was baptized ; for until that time He was 
unknown to the people at large." Similarly St Jerome, living near Jerusalem, 

40 


THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST [January 6 

testifies that in his time only one feast was kept there, that of January 6, to com- 
memorate both the birth and the baptism of Jesus ; nevertheless he declares that 
the idea of " showing forth " belonged not to His birth in the flesh, " for then He 
was hidden and not revealed ", but rather to the baptism in the Jordan, " when 
the heavens were opened upon Christ ". 

With the exception, however, of Jerusalem, where the pilgrim lady, Etheria 
(c. 395), bears witness, like St Jerome, to the celebration of the birth of our Lord 
together with the Epiphany on one and the same day (January 6), the Western 
custom of honouring our Saviour's birth separately on December 25 came into 
vogue in the course of the fourth century, and spread rapidly from Rome over all 
the Christian East.* We learn from St Chrysostom that at Antioch December 25 
was observed for the first time as a feast somewhere about 376. Two or three 
years later the festival was adopted at Constantinople, and, as appears from the 
funeral discourse pronounced by St Gregory of Nyssa over his brother St Basil, 
Cappadocia followed suit at about the same period. On the other hand, the 
celebration of January 6, which undoubtedly had its origin in the East, and which 
from a reference in the passio of St Philip of Heraclea may perhaps already be 
recognized in Thrace at the beginning of the fourth century, seems by a sort of 
exchange to have been adopted in most Western lands before the death of St 
Augustine. It meets us first at Vienne in Gaul, where the pagan historian Am- 
mianus Marcellinus, describing the Emperor Julian's visit to one of the churches, 
refers to " the feast-day in January which Christians call the Epiphany ". St 
Augustine in his time makes it a matter of reproach against the Donatists that they 
had not adopted this newer feast of the Epiphany as the Catholics had done. We 
find the Epiphany in honour at Saragossa c. 380, and in 400 it is one of the days 
on which the circus games were prohibited. 

Still, although the day fixed for the celebration was the same, the character of 
the Epiphany feast in East and West was different. In the East the baptism of our 
Lord, even down to the present time, is the motif almost exclusively emphasized, 
and the /xeyas" dytaa/xos", or great blessing of the waters, on the morning of the 
Epiphany still continues to be one of the most striking features of the oriental 
ritual. In the West, on the other hand, ever since the time of St Augustine and 
St Leo the Great, many of whose sermons for this day are still preserved to us, the 
principal stress has been laid upon the journey and the gift-offerings of the Magi. 
The baptism of our Lord and the miracle of Cana in Galilee have also, no doubt 
from an early period, been included in the conception of the feast, but although 
we find clear references to these introduced by St Paulinus of Nola at the beginning 
of the fifth century, and by St Maximus of Turin a little later, into their interpre- 
tation of the solemnities of this day, no great prominence has ever been given in 
the Western church to any other feature but the revelation of our Lord to the 
Gentiles as represented by the coming of the Magi. 

See H. Leclercq in DAC, vol. v, pp. 197-201 ; Vacandard, Etudes de critique et d'histoire 
religieuse, vol. iii, pp. 1-56 ; Hugo Kehrer, Die heiligen Drei Konige (1908), vol. i, pp. 46-52 
and 22-31 ; Duchesne, Christian Worship, pp. 257-265 ; Usener-Lietzmann, Religions- 
geschichtliche Untersuchungen, Part I ; Kellner, Heortology, pp. 166-173 ; G. Morin in 
Revue Benedictine, vol. v (1888), pp. 257-264 ; F. C. Conybeare in Rituale Armenorum, pp. 

* But to this day the non-Catholic Armenians celebrate Christmas with the Epiphany on 
January 6. And it is to be remarked that even in the Western church the liturgical rank of 
the Epiphany feast, with Easter and Pentecost, is above that of Christmas. 

4 1 


January 6] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

165-190 ; and especially Dom de Puniet in Rassegna Gregoriana, vol. v (1906), pp. 497-514. 
See also Riedel and Crum, The Canons of Athanasius, pp. 27, 131; Anecdota Maredsolana, 
t. iii, pp. 396-397 ; Rassegna Gregoriana, vol. x (191 1), pp. 51-58 ; and Migne, PG., vol. 
xlix, p. 366 (Chrysostom), and PL., vol. xxv, cc. 18-19 (Jerome), vol. xxxviii, c. 1033 
(Augustine). 

ST WILTRUDIS, Widow (c. a.d. 986) 

Raderus in his Bavaria Sancta describes Wiltrudis as a maiden who obtained the 
consent of her brother, Count Ortulf, to refuse the proposals of marriage which 
had been made for her. The truth, however, appears to be that she was the wife 
of Berthold, Duke of Bavaria, who, after her husband's death, about the year 947, 
became a nun. Even in the world she had been renowned for her piety and for 
her skill in handicrafts. After she gave herself to God her fervour redoubled and 
she eventually founded, about 976, an abbey of Benedictine nuns which became 
famous as that of Bergen, or Baring, bei Neuburg. She became the first abbess, 
and died about 986. 

See Rietzler, Geschichte Bayerns, vol. i, pp. 338 and 381 ; and Raderus, Bavaria Sancta, 
vol. iii, p. 137. 

ST ERMINOLD, Abbot (a.d. 1121) 

The medieval Life of St Erminold represents a rather unsatisfactory type of 
spiritual biography. The writer seems to have been intent only on glorifying his 
hero, and we cannot be quite satisfied as to his facts. Erminold, brought to the 
monastery of Hirschau as a child, spent all his life in the cloister. Being conspicu- 
ous for his strict observance of rule, he was chosen abbot of Lorsch, but a dispute 
about his election caused him to resign within a year. In 11 14, at the instance of 
St Otto of Bamberg, he was sent to the newly founded monastery of Priifening, 
and there he exercised authority, first as prior, and from 11 17 onwards as 
abbot. He is described in local calendars and martyrologies as a martyr, but 
his death, which took place on January 6, 1121, resulted from the conspiracy 
of an unruly faction of his own subjects who resented the strictness of his 
government. One of them struck him on the head with a heavy piece of 
timber, and Erminold, lingering for a few days, died on the Epiphany at the 
hour he had foretold. He was famed both for his spirit of prayer and for his 
charity to the poor. A large number of miracles are recorded at his tomb after 
death. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 6 ; and also the MGH., Scriptores, vol. xii, pp. 481-500. 

ST GUARINUS, or GUfatlN, Bishop of Sion (a.d. 1150) 

No formal biography of St Guarinus seems to have been left us by any of his 
contemporaries, but a considerable local cult has been paid to him ever since his 
death. He was originally a monk of Molesmes, but having been appointed abbot 
of St John of Aulps (de Alpibus), in the diocese of Geneva, he some years later 
wrote to St Bernard, then at the height of his fame, to ask that he and his community 
might be affiliated to Clairvaux. One of St Bernard's letters in reply is still 
preserved, and from this and another letter of his it is evident how highly he 
esteemed Guarinus. This second letter was written to console the community 

42 


ST JOHN DE RIBERA [January 6 

of Aulps when their abbot was taken from them to be made bishop of Sion in the 
Valais. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 6 ; and J. F. Gonthier, Vie de St Guerin (1896). 

BD GERTRUDE OF DELFT, Virgin (a.d. 1358) 

Much interest attaches to the life of this mystic, who was first a servant-maid and 
afterwards a beguine at Delft in Holland. Beguines are not, strictly speaking, 
members of a religious order, though they dwell in a settlement apart, perform 
their religious exercises in common, and make profession of chastity and obedience. 
But they are not vowed to poverty, and they live in little separate houses, each with 
one or two companions, occupied for the most part in active good works. In her 
early days Gertrude had been engaged to be married to a man who left her for 
another girl, causing great anguish of mind to the betrothed he had forsaken. 
Seeing the providence of God in this disappointment, she turned her thoughts to 
other things, and afterwards generously befriended the rival who had somewhat 
treacherously stolen her lover. 

As the crown of a life now spent in contemplation and austerity, our Lord was 
pleased to honour her, on Good Friday 1340, with the marks of His sacred wounds. 
We read that this privileged state had already been foretold to her by a holy friend 
named Lielta, and also that she had experienced a very curious bodily manifestation 
in the Christmas season of the previous year. When the stigmata were thus given 
her, apparently as a permanent mark of God's favour, they used to bleed seven 
times every day. She confided to her fellow beguine Diewerdis the news of this 
strange wonder. Naturally the tidings spread, and very soon crowds came, not 
only from Delft, but from all the country round to behold the marvel. This 
destroyed all privacy and recollection, and so Gertrude implored our Lord to come 
to her aid. The stigmata consequently ceased to bleed, but the marks persisted. 
For the eighteen years she remained on earth she led a very suffering life, but she 
seems, like other mystics who have been similarly favoured with these outward 
manifestations, to have possessed a strange knowledge of people's thoughts and 
of distant and future events, of which her biographer gives instances. The name 
" van Oosten ", by which she is known in the place of a surname, is stated to have 
come to her from her fond repetition of an old Dutch hymn beginning, Het daghet 
in den Oosten (" The day is breaking in the east "). There seems a curious appro- 
priateness in the fact that she died (1358) on the feast of the Epiphany when the 
wise men came from the east to greet their infant Saviour. " I am longing ", she 
said a few minutes before her death, " I am longing to go home." 

See the life in the Acta Sanctorum, January 6. A short Dutch text was published at 
Amsterdam in 1879 by Alberdingk Thijm in Verspreide Vcrhalen in Prosa, vol. i, pp. 54-60. 
The hymn, Het daghet in den Oosten, has been printed by Hoffmann von Fallersleben in his 
Horae Belgicae. 

ST JOHN DE RIBERA, Archbishop of Valencia (a.d. 161 i) 

Peter de Ribera, the father of Don John, was one of the highest grandees in Spain ; 
he was created duke of Alcala, but already held many other titles and important 
charges. Among the rest, he for fourteen years governed Naples as viceroy. But 
above all, he was a most upright and devout Christian. His son, therefore, was 
admirably brought up, and during a distinguished university career at Salamanca 

43 


January 6] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

and elsewhere, divine Providence seems perceptibly to have intervened to shield 
his virtue from danger. Realizing the perils to which he was exposed, he gave 
himself up to penance and prayer in preparation for holy orders. In 1557, at the 
age of twenty-five, Don John was ordained priest ; and after teaching theology at 
Salamanca for a while, he was preconized bishop of Badajoz, much to his dismay, 
by St Pius V in 1562. His duties as bishop were discharged with scrupulous 
fidelity and zeal, and six years later, by the desire both of Philip II and the same 
holy pontiff, he was reluctantly constrained to accept the dignity of archbishop of 
Valencia. A few months later, filled with consternation at the languid faith and 
relaxed morals of this province, which was the great stronghold of the Moriscos, 
he wrote begging to be allowed to resign, but the pope would not consent ; and for 
forty-two years, down to his death in 161 1, St John struggled to support cheerfully 
a load of responsibility which almost crushed him. In his old age the burden was 
increased by the office of viceroy of the province of Valencia, which was imposed 
upon him by Philip III. 

The archbishop viewed with intense alarm what he regarded as the dangerous 
activities of the Moriscos and Jews, whose financial prosperity was the envy of 
all. Owing to the universal ignorance of the principles of political economy which 
then prevailed, the Moriscos seemed to Ribera to be " the sponges which sucked 
up all the wealth of the Christians ". At the same time, it is only fair to note that 
this was the view of nearly all his Christian countrymen, and that it was shared 
even by so enlightened a contemporary as Cervantes. In any case, it is beyond 
dispute that St John de Ribera was one of the advisers who were mainly responsible 
for the edict of 1609 which enforced the deportation of the Moriscos from Valencia. 
We can only bear in mind that a decree of beatification pronounces only upon the 
personal virtues and miracles of the servant of God so honoured, and that it does 
not constitute an approbation of all his public acts or of his political views. The 
archbishop did not long survive the tragedy of the deportation. He died, after a 
long illness most patiently borne, at the College of Corpus Christi, which he 
himself had founded and endowed, on January 6, 161 1. Many miracles were 
attributed to his intercession. He was beatified in 1796 and canonized in i960. 

See V. Castillo, Vita del B. Giovanni de Ribera (1796) ; M. Belda, Vida del B. Juan de 
Ribera (1802) ; and P. Boronat y Barrachina, Los Moriscos espanoles y su Expulsion (1901). 

BD RAPHAELA MARY, Virgin, Foundress of the Handmaids of the 
Sacred Heart (a.d. 1925) 

Raphaela Porras was born in the small Spanish town of Pedro Abad, some way 
from Cordova, in 1850. When she was four she lost her father, the mayor of 
the place, who died of cholera caught when looking after the sick during an epi- 
demic ; at nineteen her mother followed, and Raphaela was left with her elder 
sister, Dolores, in charge of the household, which included several brothers and 
sisters. In 1873 both announced that they wished to become nuns. Their 
retiring way of life had already provoked opposition from the family ; but it 
was eventually arranged for them to be received as novices by the nuns of 
Marie Reparatrice who had been invited to Cordova at the suggestion of a 
priest named Joseph Antony Ortiz Urruela (he had at one time studied in England 
under Bishop Grant of Southwark). Difficulties, however, at once arose — 
partly because the nuns were " foreign ", partly because of the high-handed 

44 


BD RAPHAELA MARY [January 6 

behaviour of Don Ortiz Urruela — and the bishop asked the nuns to leave. 
Sixteen novices, including the two Porras girls, were given permission to remain 
in Cordova, and carry on as best they could under the headship of Sister Raphaela 
Mary-of-the-Sacred-Heart. 

Early in 1877, just before Sister Raphaela and five others were to take their 
vows, Bishop Ceferino Gonzalez informed them that he had drawn up an entirely 
new rule for the community. This put the novices in an awkward position. The 
new rule was quite different from that in which they had been trained ; on the other 
hand, if they refused it they all would be sent back to their homes. The course 
they decided on was a surprising one — no less than flight. And they carried it 
out. Leaving Cordova by night, they went to Andujar, where Don Ortiz Urruela 
had arranged for them to be sheltered by the nuns at the hospital. Naturally, 
there was great excitement. The civil authorities took a hand, and the bishop 
declared Don Ortiz Urruela " suspended " ; but that enterprising priest was 
already in Madrid, seeing what he could do for his protegees there, and the bishop 
could really do little, as the fugitives were not a canonically-erected community. 
Then Don Ortiz Urruela suddenly died ; but the sisters were sent a new friend in 
Father Cotanilla, a Jesuit, and they were allowed by the ecclesiastical authorities 
to settle in Madrid. In the summer of 1877 the first two, Raphaela and her sister 
Dolores, made their profession. 

That was the startling beginning of the congregation of the Handmaids of the 
Sacred Heart, whose work was to be the education of children and helping with 
retreats. It soon began to develop and spread, and houses were opened at Jerez, 
Saragossa, Bilbao and Cordova — this last with the full approval of Bishop Ceferino. 
To-day its sisters are found in a dozen other countries besides Spain, including 
England and the United States. But troubles did not end with the difficulty of 
its birth, nor even with the granting of approval b.y the Holy See in 1877, when 
Bd Raphaela was elected mother general. Unhappily her sister Dolores, now 
Mother Mary-del-Pilar, did not see eye-to-eye with Raphaela in matters of adminis- 
tration, and there were others who supported Mother Mary : in 1893 the foundress 
resigned from her office as mother general, and Mary-del-Pilar was elected in her 
place. For the remaining thirty-two years of her life Bd Raphaela filled no office 
whatever in her congregation, but lived in obscurity in the Roman house, doing 
the housework. 

It cannot be doubted that it was in these years that she earned her halo of 
holiness. The woman that inaugurated a religious congregation in the circum- 
stances that she did cannot have found such self-abnegation easy. Attention has 
several times been drawn in these pages to people who were popularly canonized 
because they accepted, not formal martyrdom, but simply an unjust death : Mother 
Raphaela is a beata who lived nearly half her life cheerfully carrying a weight of 
unjust treatment. Courage and sweetness shone out from her face in old age. 
The surgeon who operated on her in her last days said it all in a sentence : " Mother, 
you are a brave woman " ; but she had said long before, " I see clearly that God 
wants me to submit to all that happens to me as if I saw Him there commanding 
it." Bd Raphaela Mary died on the Epiphany in 1925, and she was beatified in 
1952. 

In English there is a good summary in pamphlet form, In Search of the Will of God (1950) , 
by Fr William Lawson. 

45 


January 7] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 


7: 


ST LUCIAN OF ANTIOCH, Martyr (a.d. 312) 


ST LUCIAN was born at Samosata, in Syria. He became a great proficient 
in rhetoric and philosophy, and applied himself to the study of the Holy 
Scriptures under one Macarius at Edessa. Convinced that his duty as a 
priest required him to devote himself entirely to the service of God and the good 
of his neighbour, he was not content to inculcate the practice of virtue by word and 
example, but he also undertook to purge the Old and New Testament from the 
faults that had crept into them through the inaccuracy of transcribers and in other 
ways. Whether he only revised the text of the Old Testament by comparing 
different editions of the Septuagint, or corrected it upon the Hebrew text, being 
well versed in that language, it is certain in any case that St Lucian's edition of the 
Bible was much esteemed, and was of great use to St Jerome. 

St Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, says that Lucian remained some years 
separated from Catholic communion at Antioch, under three successive bishops. 
He may perhaps have favoured overmuch the heretic Paul of Samosata, con- 
demned at Antioch in the year 269, but it is certain, at least, that Lucian died in 
the communion of the Church. This appears from a fragment of a letter written 
by him to the church of Antioch, still extant in the Alexandrian Chronicle. Though 
a priest of Antioch, we find him at Nicomedia in the year 303, when Diocletian first 
published his edicts against the Christians. He there suffered a long imprisonment 
for the faith, for he wrote from out of his dungeon, " All the martyrs salute you. 
I inform you that the Pope Anthimus [Bishop of Nicomedia] has finished his 
course by martyrdom." This happened in 303. Yet Eusebius informs us that 
St Lucian did not arrive himself at the crown of martyrdom till after the death of 
St Peter of Alexandria in 311, so that he seems to have continued nine years in 
prison. 

At length he was brought before the governor, or the emperor himself, for the 
word which Eusebius uses may imply either. At his trial he presented to the judge 
an excellent apology for the Christian faith. Being remanded to prison, an order 
was given that no food should be allowed him ; but after fourteen days, when 
almost dead with hunger, meats that had been offered to idols were set before him, 
which he would not touch. It was not in itself unlawful to eat of such meats, as 
St Paul teaches, except where it would give scandal to the weak, or when it was 
exacted as an action of idolatrous superstition, as was the case here. Being brought 
a second time before the tribunal, he would to all the questions put to him give 
no other answer but this, " I am a Christian ". He repeated the same whilst on 
the rack, and he finished his glorious course in prison, either by starvation, or, 
according to St Chrysostom, by the sword. His acts relate many of his miracles, 
with other particulars ; as that, when bound and chained on his back in prison, 
he consecrated the divine mysteries upon his own breast, and communicated the 
faithful that were present : this we also read in Philostorgius, the Arian historian. 
St Lucian suffered at Nicomedia in Bithynia on January 7, 312, and was buried at 
Drepanum (Helenopolis). 

We have plenty of information concerning St Lucian in Eusebius (Hist. Eccles., ix, 6) 
in a panegyric by St John Chrysostom (Migne, PC, vol. 1, p. 519), and in a rather fantastic 
legend preserved by the Metaphrast (Migne, PC, vol. cxiv, p. 397). See also Pio Franchi 
in Studi e Documenti (1897), vol. xviii, pp. 24-45. Father Delehaye says of St Lucian : 

46 


ST TILLO [January 7 

" Nothing could be better authenticated than the fact of his martyrdom, nothing more firmly 
established than his cuitus y witnessed to by the basilica of Helenopolis, as well as by literary 
documents " (Legends of the Saints, p. 192). Nevertheless the story of St Lucian has been 
chosen by H. Usener (Die Sintfluthsagen, 1899, pp. 168-180) as a typical example of the 
evolution of Christian legend out of pagan myth. Consult the reply of Father Delehaye 
(I.e. pp. 193-197), and see also Batiffol in Compte-rendu du Congres catholique (1894), vol. ii, 
pp. 1 81-186. There is a sensitive and erudite study by G. Bardy, Recherches sur St Lucien 
d'Antioche (1936). 

ST VALENTINE, Bishop (a.d. 440 ?) 

Very little is known concerning this St Valentine, though a fairly long medieval 
biography of him is printed in the Acta Sanctorum ; but this, as all are agreed, is 
historically worthless. From Eugippius in his Life of St Severinus we learn that 
Valentine was first of all an abbot, and then a missionary bishop in Rhaetia, and 
also that a disciple of Valentine who attached himself to St Severinus used every 
year on January 7 to offer Mass in honour of his earlier father in Christ. Venantius 
Fortunatus lets us know that in a journey he made through the Tirol he came across 
more than one church which was dedicated in honour of the same St Valentine. 
From Arbeo of Freising we get the further information that Valentine was first 
buried at Mais in the Tirol, but that his remains were translated to Trent about 
the year 750, and thence in 768 to Passau. These are all early testimonies, but 
there is no more evidence which can be relied on. At a much later date a story 
was invented that at a subsequent removal of the relics of Valentine to a place of 
greater honour in Passau a leaden tablet had been found which had engraved upon 
it a summary of the saint's whole history. The biographer professes to incorporate 
a copy of the text of this inscription, but a critical study of the document leaves no 
doubt that it is a clumsy forgery. 

See the essay of A. Leider, " Die Bleitafel im Sarge des HI. Valentin " in Festgabe Alois 
Knopfler (1907), pp. 254-274 ; and the Acta Sanctorum, January 7. 

ST TILLO (c. a.d. 702) 

He was by birth a Saxon, and being made captive, was carried into the Low 
Countries, where he was ransomed and baptized by St Eligius. That fervent 
apostle sent him to his abbey of Solignac, in the Limousin. Tillo was called thence 
by Eligius, ordained priest, and employed by him for some time at Tournai and 
in other parts of the Low Countries. The inhabitants of the country of Iseghem, 
near Courtrai, regard him as their apostle. Some years after the death of St 
Eligius, St Tillo returned to Solignac, and lived as a recluse near that abbey, 
imitating in simplicity, devotion and austerity the Antonys and Macariuses of old. 
He died in his solitude, about the year 702, a nonagenarian, and was honoured 
with miracles. Tillo is sometimes called Theau in France, Tilloine or Tilman 
in Flanders, Hillonius in Germany. 

His name is famous in the French and Belgian calendars, though it does not occur in the 
Roman Martyrology. The Life of St Eligius names Tillo first among the seven disciples 
of that saint, who worked with him at his trade of goldsmith, and imitated him in all his 
religious exercises, before that holy man was engaged in the ministry of the Church. Many 
churches in Flanders, Auvergne, the Limousin and other places are dedicated to God under 
his invocation. The anonymous Life of St Tillo, in the Acta SS, is not altogether authentic ; 
the history which Mabillon gives of him from the Breviary of Solignac is of more authority : 
see his AA. SS. Benedict., vol. ii, p. 996. 

47 


January 7] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST ALDRIC, Bishop of Le Mans (a.d. 856) 

This saint was born of a noble family, parti/ of Saxon and partly Bavarian extrac- 
tion, about the year 800. At twelve years of age he was sent by his father to the 
court of Charlemagne where, in the household of Louis the Pious, he gained the 
esteem of the whole court. About the year 821 he retired from Aix-la-Chapelle 
to Metz, where he entered the bishop's school and received clerical tonsure. After 
his ordination the Emperor Louis called him again to court, and made him his 
chaplain and confessor. In 832 St Aldric was chosen bishop of Le Mans. He 
employed his patrimony and his whole interest in relieving the poor, providing 
public services, establishing churches and monasteries, and promoting religion. 
In the civil wars which divided the empire his fidelity to Louis and to his successor, 
Charles the Bald, was inviolable. For almost a year he was expelled by a faction 
from his see, Aldric having antagonized the monks of Saint-Calais by claiming 
that they were under his jurisdiction. The claim was not upheld, though supported 
by forged documents, for which the bishop himself is not known to have been 
personally responsible. 

Some fragments have reached us of the regulations which Aldric made for his 
cathedral, in which he orders ten wax candles and ninety lamps to be lighted on 
all great festivals. We have three testaments of this holy prelate extant. The last 
is an edifying monument of his piety : in the first two, he bequeaths lands and 
possessions to many churches of his diocese, adding prudent advice and regulations 
for maintaining good order and a spirit of charity. The last two years of St 
Aldric's life he was paralysed and confined to bed, during which time he redoubled 
his fervour and assiduity in prayer. He died January 7, 856, and was buried in 
the church of St Vincent, of which, and of the monastery to which it belonged, 
he had been a great benefactor. 

The medieval Latin life of St Aldric has been re-edited by Charles and Froger, Gesta 
domini Aldrici (1890). No scholar now regards it as fully reliable, but the first forty-four 
chapters seem to be older and more trustworthy than the rest. Some attempts have been 
made to connect St Aldric with the compilation of the Forged Decretals, but this idea has 
not found much favour, though Paul Fournier has shown good reason for believing that they 
first took shape in the neighbourhood of Le Mans during his episcopate. On the other hand, 
Julien Havet has argued that the first forty-four chapters of the Gesta were written as a piece 
of autobiography by Aldric himself. In any case Havet seems to have proved that in contrast 
to the chapters in the later portion of the Gesta and those in the Actus pontificum Ceno- 
mannis . . ., the nineteen documents incorporated in the first forty-four chapters are all 
authentic. See J. Havet, CEuvres, vol. i, pp. 287-292, 317 seq. y and Anal 'e eta Bollandiana 
(1895), vol. xiv, p. 446 ; cf. also Duchesne, Fastes fipiscopaux, vol. ii, pp. 313-317, 327-328, 
342-343 ; M. Besson in DHG., vol. ii, cc. 68-69. 

ST REINOLD (a.d. 960 ?) 

Very little is known of St Reinold, monk and martyr, identified with the youngest 
of the " four sons of Aymon ". Tradition connects him with the family of 
Charlemagne. Apparently he made his way to Cologne and entered the monastery 
of St Pantaleon. He was put in charge of certain building operations, and owing 
to his over-strenuous diligence, incurred the hostility of the stonemasons. The 
result was that they attacked him, killed him with blows of their hammers, and 
flung his body into a pool near the Rhine. For a long time his brothers in religion 
searched in vain for any trace of him. His body was at last discovered through a 

48 


BD EDWARD WATERSON [January 7 

revelation made to a poor sick woman, and it was brought back to the monastery 
with honour. Later on, in the eleventh century, it was translated by St Anno, 
Archbishop of Cologne, to Dortmund in Westphalia. St Reinold was in some 
places honoured as the patron of stonemasons. 

The Acta Sanctorum for January 7 prints a short life, but it is impossible to say how much 
of this is purely mythical, and how much may be based on some kernel of fact. A local 
chronicle of Cologne states that St Reinold died in 697, and a rhythmical life of the same, 
printed by Floss, assigns his " martyrdom " to the episcopate of St Agilulf, Bishop of Cologne, 
who is supposed to have died in 750. In either case Reinold could have had nothing to do 
with Charlemagne. See Jordan in Romanische Forschungen (1907), vol. xx, pp. 1-198, and 
Caxton's Romance of the Foure Sonnes of Aymon, re-edited for the Early English Text Society. 

ST CANUTE LAVARD, Martyr (a.d. 1131) 

Knud Lavard, " the Lord ", as he is called by his countrymen, was the second 
son of Eric the Good, King of Denmark. When he had come to man's estate, 
his uncle, King Niels, made him duke over southern Jutland with the task of 
defending it against the Wends ; and, from his centre at Schleswig, Canute set 
himself to make justice and peace reign in his territory. Unfortunately the 
plundering Vikings could not be induced to co-operate in this worthy object. One 
day, when he had condemned several of them to be hanged for their piracies, one 
cried out that he was of blood royal and related to Canute. The duke answered 
that if such was the case he should in recognition of his noble birth be hanged from 
the masthead of his ship, which was done. 

Canute had spent part of his youth at the Saxon court, and in 1 129 the Emperor 
Lothair III recognized his rule over the western Wends, with the title of king. 
This excited the anger of King Niels of Denmark, and on January 7, 1131, Canute 
was treacherously slain in the forest of Haraldsted, near Ringsted, by his cousins 
Magnus Nielssen and Henry Skadelaar. Canute, who had supported the mis- 
sionary activities of St Vicelin, was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1169 
at the request of his son, Valdemar I of Denmark, and of Eskil, Archbishop of 
Lund. The Roman Martyrology, following the cultus which Canute received in 
Denmark, calls him a martyr, but he seems to have been a dynastic hero rather 
than a martyr. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, January 7 ; C. Gertz, Vitae sanctorum Danorum (1908-1912) ; 
Schubert, Kirchengeschichte von Schleswig-Holstein (1907), vol. i ; and DHG., vol. xi, 
cc. 815-817. For the canonization, see E. W. Kemp, Canonization and Authority . . . 
(1948), pp. 79, 86. 

BD EDWARD WATERSON, Martyr (a.d. 1593) 

Edward Waterson is unique among the English martyrs in having had the oppor- 
tunity to turn Mohammedan and marry a Turkish girl. He was a Protestant 
Londoner by birth, and when a young man made a voyage to Turkey. While there 
he attracted the favourable notice of a wealthy Turk, who offered him his daughter 
in marriage on condition that he should embrace Islam. Waterson rejected the 
suggestion ; but on his way homewards, tarrying at Rome, he had the oppor- 
tunity for conversion of another sort, and he was reconciled with the Catholic 
Church by Dr Richard Smith at the English College. This was in 1588. He 
then went on to the college at Rheims, where he was ordained priest four years 
later. 

49 


January 8] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

In June following he was sent back to England, declaring he would rather go 
there than own all France for a twelvemonth ; but he ministered for only a few 
months before being arrested and condemned for his priesthood at Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne. Archdeacon Trollope, from whose letters to Douay Challoner got 
several items of information, declared that, when Mr Waterson was tied to the 
hurdle to be drawn to the place of execution, the horses refused to budge ; so he 
had to be taken to the scaffold on foot, the bystanders saying, " It would be a vote 
to the papists which had happened that day " ; or, in modern idiom, " That's one 
up to the R.C.'s ". Again, when he came to mount the scaffold the ladder is said 
to have jerked about without human agency, and to have stayed still only when he 
made the sign of the cross over it. Then he was turned off, disembowelled and 
quartered. 

See MMP., pp. 187-188 ; Morris, Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers (series III) ; 
Catholic Record Society publications, vol. v ; and Burton and Pollen, LEM. 


8 


ST APOLLINARIS, Bishop of Hierapolis (c. a.d. 179) 


CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, called " the 
Apologist ", was a famous Christian teacher in the second century. Not- 
withstanding the encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St Jerome, 
Theodoret and others, we know but little of his life, and his writings, which then 
were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. Photius, who had read them 
and who was a very good judge, commends them both for their style and matter. 
He wrote against the Encratites and other heretics, and pointed out, as St Jerome 
testifies, from what philosophical sect each heresy derived its errors. His last 
work was directed against the Montanists and their pretended prophets, who began 
to appear in Phrygia about the year 171. But nothing rendered his name so 
illustrious as his apology for the Christian religion, which he addressed to the 
Emperor Marcus Aurelius soon after the victory that prince had obtained over the 
Quadi by the prayers, it is alleged, of the Christians, of which the saint made 
mention. 

Marcus Aurelius having long attempted without success to subdue the Germans 
by his generals, resolved in a.d. 174 to take the field against them himself. He was 
beyond the Danube when the Quadi, a people inhabiting that territory later called 
Moravia, surrounded him in a very disadvantageous situation : so that there was 
no possibility that either he or his army could escape out of their hands or maintain 
themselves long where they were for want of water. The twelfth legion was chiefly 
composed of Christians. When the army was drawn up, exhausted with thirst, 
the Christians fell upon their knees, " as we are accustomed to do at prayer ", says 
Eusebius, and earnestly besought God's aid. Then on a sudden the sky was 
darkened with clouds, and a heavy rain poured down just as the barbarians began 
their attack. The Romans fought and drank at the same time, catching the rain 
as it fell in their helmets, and often swallowing it mingled with blood. Their 
assailants would still have been too strong for them, but that the storm being driven 
by a violent wind into their faces, and accompanied with flashes of lightning and 
loud thunder, the Germans, unable to see, were terrified to such a degree that they 
took to flight. Both heathen and Christian writers give this account of the victory. 

5o 


ST LUCIAN OF BEAUVAIS [January 8 

The heathens ascribed it, some to the power of magic, others to their gods, but 
the Christians accounted it a miracle obtained by the prayers of this legion. St 
Apollinaris apparently referred to it in his apology to this very emperor, and added 
that as an acknowledgement the emperor gave it the name of the " Thunder- 
ing Legion ". From him it is so called by Eusebius, Tertullian, St Jerome and 
St Gregory of Nyssa. 

The Quadi surrendered the prisoners whom they had taken, and begged for 
peace on whatever conditions it should please the emperor to grant it them. Marcus 
Aurelius hereupon, out of gratitude to his Christian soldiers, published an edict, 
in which he confessed himself indebted for his delivery " to the shower obtained, 
perhaps, by the prayers of the Christians ". In it he forbade, under pain of death, 
anyone to accuse a Christian on account of his religion ; yet by a strange incon- 
sistency, being overawed by the opposition of the senate, he had not the courage to 
abolish the laws already in force against Christians. Hence, even after this, in the 
same reign, many suffered martyrdom, though their accusers, it is asserted, were 
also put to death. 

The deliverance of the emperor is represented on the Columna Antoniniana in 
Rome by the figure of a Jupiter Pluvius, being that of an old man flying in the air 
with his arms extended, and a long beard which seems to waste away in rain. The 
soldiers are there represented as relieved by this sudden tempest, and in a posture 
partly drinking of the rain water and partly fighting against the enemy, who, on 
the contrary, are represented as stretched out on the ground with their horses, and 
the dreadful part of the storm descending upon them only. The credibility of the 
story, which Eusebius apparently derived from the Apology of St Apollinaris, still 
remains a matter of discussion. On the one hand, it is certain that the " Thunder- 
ing Legion " (legio fulminatd) did not obtain this title from Marcus Aurelius, for it 
belonged to them from the time of Augustus ; on the other, there is nothing 
violently incredible in the facts themselves. Contemporary Christians might easily 
attribute such a surprising victory to the prayers of their fellow believers. There 
is no confirmation among pagan authorities for the text of the supposed edict of 
toleration. Those scholars who defend the general accuracy of the facts believe 
it to be at least interpolated. 

St Apollinaris may have penned his apology to the emperor about the year 
175 to remind him of the benefit he had received from God by the prayers 
of the Christians, and to implore his protection. We have no account of the 
time of this holy man's death, which probably happened before that of Marcus 
Aurelius. 

For the " Thundering Legion " see Tertullian, Apologeticum, cap. 5, and Ad Scapulam, 
cap. 4 ; Eusebius, Hist, eccl., bk v, cap. 5 ; J. B. Lightfoot, St Ignatius, vol. i (1889), pp. 
469 seq. ; Mommsen in Hermes, 1895, pp. 90—106 ; Allard, Histoire des persecutions, vol. i 
(1903), pp. 394-396. For St Apollinaris, see Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. ii, pp. 4-8. 
His name was added to the Roman Martyrology by Baronius, but there is no evidence of any 
early cultus in either the East or West. 

ST LUCIAN OF BEAUVAIS, Martyr (a.d. 290 ?) 

It is said that this Lucian preached the gospel in Gaul in the third century and 
came from Rome ; he was possibly one of the companions of St Dionysius of Paris, 
or at least of St Quentin. He sealed his mission with his blood at Beauvais, under 

51 


January 8] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Julian, vicar or successor to the persecutor Rictiovarus in the government of Gaul, 
about the year 290. Maximian, called by the common people Messien, and Julian, 
the companions of his labours, were crowned with martyrdom at the same place 
a little before him. His relics, with those of his two colleagues, were discovered 
in the seventh century, as St Ouen informs us in his life of St Eligius. They were 
shown in three gilt shrines in an abbey which bore his name, founded in the eighth 
century. Rabanus Maurus says that these relics were famous for miracles when 
he wrote, a hundred years later. 

St Lucian is styled only martyr in most calendars down to the sixteenth century, 
and in the Roman Martyrology ; but a calendar compiled in the reign of Louis the 
Pious calls him bishop, and he is honoured in that quality at Beauvais. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 8, p. 640, though the two lives of this saint there 
printed are of little or no authority. Duchesne in his Fastes Episcopaux, vol. iii, pp. 119 
and 141-152, discusses the case of St Lucian at some length, and shows good reason for 
believing that the whole story is mythical. He strongly inclines to the belief that Rictiovarus 
never existed. See H. Moretus, Les Passions de S. Lucien et leurs derives cephalophoriques 
(i953)- 

ST SEVERINUS OF NORICUM (c. ad. 480) 

We know nothing of the birth or country of this saint. From the purity of his 
Latin he was generally supposed to be a Roman, and his care to conceal what rank 
he had held in the world was taken for a proof of his humility and a presumption 
that he was a person of birth. He spent the first part of his life in the deserts of the 
East, but left his retreat to preach the gospel in Noricum (Austria). At first he 
came to Astura, now Stockerau ; but finding the people hardened in vice, he fore- 
told the punishment God had prepared for them, and repaired to Comagene 
(Hamburg, on the Danube). It was not long ere his prophecy was veri- 
fied, for Astura was laid waste, and the inhabitants destroyed by the Huns. By the 
fulfilment of this prophecy, and by several miracles which he wrought, the name 
of the saint became famous. Faviana, a city on the Danube, distressed by a terrible 
famine, implored his assistance. St Severinus preached penance among them with 
great fruit, and he so effectually threatened a certain rich woman who had hoarded 
up a great quantity of provisions, that she distributed all her stores amongst 
the poor. Soon after his arrival, the ice of the Danube and the Inn breaking, 
the country was abundantly supplied by barges up the rivers. Another time 
by his prayers he chased away the swarms of locusts which were then threatening 
the whole produce of the year. He wrought many miracles, yet never healed 
the sore eyes of Bonosus, the dearest to him of his disciples, who spent forty 
years without any abatement of his religious fervour. Severinus himself never 
ceased to exhort all to repentance and piety ; he redeemed captives, relieved 
the oppressed, was a father to the poor, cured the sick, mitigated or averted 
public calamities, and brought a blessing wherever he came. Many cities 
desired him for their bishop, but he withstood their importunities by urging 
that it was sufficient he had relinquished his dear solitude for their instruction 
and comfort. 

He established several monasteries, of which the most considerable was one on 
the banks of the Danube near Vienna ; but he made none of them the place of his 
constant abode, often shutting himself up in a hermitage where he wholly devoted 

52 


ST ERHARD [January 8 

himself to contemplation. He never ate till after sunset, unless on great festivals, 
and he always walked barefoot, even when the Danube was frozen. Kings and 
princes of the barbarians came to visit him, and among them Odoacer on his march 
for Italy. The saint's cell was so low that Odoacer could not stand upright in it. 
St Severinus told him that the kingdom he was going to conquer would shortly be 
his, and Odoacer finding himself soon after master of the country, wrote to the 
saint, promising him all he was pleased to ask ; but Severinus only desired of him 
the restoration of a certain banished man. Having foretold his death long before 
it happened, he fell ill on January 5, and on the fourth day of his illness, repeating 
that verse of the psalmist, " Let every spirit praise the Lord ", he closed his eyes 
in death. This happened between 476 and 482. Some years later his disciples, 
driven out by the inroads of barbarians, retired with his relics into Italy, and 
deposited them at Luculanum, near Naples, where a monastery was built, of which 
Eugippius, his disciple and biographer, was soon after made abbot. In the year 
910 they were translated to Naples, where they were honoured in a Benedictine 
abbey which bore his name. 

The one supreme authority for the life of St Severinus is the biography by his disciple 
Eugippius, the best text of which is to be found in the edition of T. Mommsen (1898), or 
in that of the Vienna Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum, edited by Pius Knoell 
(1886). See also A. Baudrillart, St Severin (1908) ; and T. Sommerlad, Wirtschafts- 
geschichtliche Untersuchungen, part ii (1903). Sommerlad shows some reason for thinking 
that St Severinus belonged to a distinguished family in Africa, and that in his own country 
he had been consecrated bishop before he sought refuge in the East and led the life of 
a hermit or monk. 

ST SEVERINUS, Bishop of Septempeda (a.d. 550?) 

The ancient town of Septempeda in the Marches of Ancona is now called San 
Severino, deriving its name from a St Severinus who is believed to have been bishop 
there in the middle of the sixth century. He was the brother of St Victorinus, 
whom Ado in his martyrology identifies with a martyr of that name. The con- 
fusion seems to have arisen from the fact that the relics of St Severinus of Noricum 
were transferred to Naples, whence Ado was led to identify him with the Italian 
St Severinus. The confusion is perpetuated in the present Roman Martyrology, 
for there is no reason to believe that Severinus of Septempeda ever had anything 
to do with Naples. 

See the legend of SS. Severinus and Victorinus in the Acta Sanctorum, January 8 ; and 
cf. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxvii (1908), p. 466. 

ST ERHARD, Bishop (a.d. 686 ?) 

There is better evidence for the existence of St Erhard, described as bishop of 
Ratisbon (he was, however, possibly only a chorepiscopus, a sort of bishop auxiliary), 
than there is for his supposed brother Albert. A strong local tradition evidenced 
by place names — e.g. " Erhardsbrunnen ", " Erhardicrypta ", etc. — as well as by 
entries in calendars and other early documents, seems to imply a considerable 
cultus dating back to the eighth century and possibly earlier. What purports to 
be his episcopal staff of black buffalo-horn is still preserved, as well as part of his 
skull. He may be identical with an abbot of Ebersheimmunster whose name 
appears in a Merovingian charter of the year 684. He is stated to have baptized 

S3 


January 8] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

St Odilia, who, though born blind, recovered her sight on receiving the sacrament. 
Two or three lives of him have been printed by the Bollandists, but they are all 
overlaid by fabulous or legendary matter. He is in some accounts described as an 
Irishman, or at least of Irish descent but no great reliance can be placed upon this 
statement. 

The most trustworthy information which is available concerning St Erhard has been 
collected by W. Levison in his preface to the Latin texts printed in MGH., Scriptores Merov., 
vol. vi, pp. 1-23. 

ST GUDULA, Virgin (a.d. 712 ?) 

St Amalberga, mother of this saint, was niece to Bd Pepin of Landen. Gudula 
was educated at Nivelles, under the care of St Gertrude, her cousin and godmother, 
after whose death in 664 she returned to the house of Count Witger, her father ; 
having by vow consecrated herself to God, she led a most austere life in watching, 
fasting and prayer. By her profuse alms she was truly the mother of all the dis- 
tressed. Though her father's castle was two miles from the church at Morzelle, 
she went thither early every morning, with a maid to carry a lantern before her ; 
and the wax taper being once put out, is said to have miraculously lighted again at 
her prayers, whence she is usually represented in pictures with a lantern. She 
died on January 8, perhaps in 712, and was buried at Hamme, near Brussels. In 
the reign of Charlemagne, her body was removed to the church of Saint-Sauveur 
at Morzelle, and placed behind the high altar. This emperor, out of veneration 
for her memory, often resorted thither to pray, and founded a nunnery, which soon 
after changed its name of St Saviour for that of St Goule. This house was 
destroyed in the irruptions of the Normans. The relics of St Gudula, by the care 
of Charles, Duke of Lorraine (in which Brabant was then comprised), were trans- 
lated to Brussels in 978, where they were first deposited in the church of St Gery, 
but in 1047 removed into the great collegiate church of St Michael, since called 
from her St Gudule's. This saint was called colloquially Goule or Ergoule in 
Brabant, and Goelen in Flanders. 

See her life written by Hubert of Brabant in the eleventh century, soon after this trans- 
lation of her relics to St Michael's, who assures us that he took the whole relation from an 
ancient life of the saint, having only changed the order and style. But even if we could trust 
this statement, some of the miracles found in this and one or two other slightly differing 
accounts are very extravagant — e.g. that a pair of gloves given her by a friend, which she 
refused to use, remained suspended in the air for an hour ; or that a tall poplar-tree grew up 
beside her grave in a night. See for the 1 texts the Acta Sanctorum, January 8, and cf. Des- 
tombes, Saints de Cambrai, vol. i, pp. 51-56. Visitors to Brussels often take the great 
church of Sainte-Gudule for a cathedral, but Brussels has never been an episcopal see. 

ST PEGA, Virgin (c. a.d. 719) 

Pega was sister to St Guthlac and she lived a retired life not far from her brother's 
hermitage at Croyland, just across the border of what is now Northamptonshire, 
on the western edge of the great Peterborough Fen. The place is now called 
Peakirk, i.e. Pega's church. She attended her brother's funeral, making the 
journey by water down the Welland, and is reputed on that occasion to have cured 
a blind man from Wisbech. She is said to have then gone on pilgrimage to Rome, 
where she slept in the Lord about the year 719. Order icus Vitalis says her relics 

54 


ST THORFINN [January 8 

were honoured with miracles, and kept in a church which bore her name at Rome, 
but this church is not now known. 

The Bollandists have brought together scattered allusions from the Life of St Guthlac 
and elsewhere (Acta Sanctorum, January 8). See also DCB., vol. iv, pp. 280-281, and the 
forthcoming Life of Guthlac by Bertram Colgrave. 

ST WULSIN, Bishop of Sherborne (a.d. 1005) 

In a charter which purports to emanate from King Ethelred in the year 998, Wulsin 
is described as a loyal and trusty monk whom St Dunstan " loved like a son with 
pure affection ". It is a little difficult to be sure of the dates, but it would seem 
that when Dunstan was bishop of London he obtained a grant of land from King 
Edgar and restored the abbey of Westminster, making Wulsin superior of the dozen 
monks he placed there. In 980 Wulsin was consecrated abbot, and thirteen years 
afterwards he was appointed to the see of Sherborne. He seems to have died on 
January 8, 1005. He was evidently much beloved, and is called Saint by Malmes- 
bury, Capgrave, Flete and others, but his name apparently is not found in the 
medieval English calendars. 

See John Flete, History of Westminster Abbey (ed. Armitage Robinson, 1909), pp. 79-80 ; 
Stubbs, Memorials of St Dunstan, pp. 304, 406-408 ; Stanton, Menology, p. 10. 

ST THORFINN, Bishop of Hamar (a.d. 1285) 

In the year 1285 there died in the Cistercian monastery at Ter Doest, near Bruges, 
a Norwegian bishop named Thorfinn. He had never attracted particular attention 
and was soon forgotten. But over fifty years later, in the course of some building 
operations, his tomb in the church was opened and it was reported that the remains 
gave out a strong and pleasing smell. The abbot made enquiries and found that 
one of his monks, an aged man named Walter de Muda, remembered Bishop 
Thorfinn staying in the monastery and the impression he had made of gentle 
goodness combined with strength. Father Walter had in fact written a poem about 
him after his death and hung it up over his tomb. It was then found that the 
parchment was still there, none the worse for the passage of time. This was taken 
as a direction from on high that the bishop's memory was to be perpetuated, and 
Father Walter was instructed to write down his recollections of him. 

For all that, there is little enough known about St Thorfinn. He was a 
Trondhjem man and perhaps was a canon of the cathedral of Nidaros, since there 
was such a one named Thorfinn among those who witnessed the Agreement of 
Tonsberg in 1277. This was an agreement between King Magnus VI and the 
Archbishop of Nidaros confirming certain privileges of the clergy, the freedom of 
episcopal elections and similar matters. Some years later King Eric* repudiated 
this agreement, and a fierce dispute between church and state ensued. Eventually 
the king outlawed the archbishop, John, and his two chief supporters, Bishop 
Andrew of Oslo and Bishop Thorfinn of Hamar. 

The last-named, after many hardships, including shipwreck, made his way to 
the abbey of Ter Doest in Flanders, which had a number of contacts with the 
Norwegian church. It is possible that he had been there before, and there is some 
reason to suppose he was himself a Cistercian of the abbey of Tautra, near Nidaros. 

* He married Margaret, daughter of King Alexander III of Scotland. Their daughter 
was " The Maid of Norway ", who has a paragraph in English and Scottish history. 

55 


January 9] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

After a visit to Rome he went back to Ter Doest, in bad health. Indeed, though 
probably still a youngish man, he saw death approaching and so made his will ; 
he had little to leave, but what there was he divided between his mother, his brothers 
and sisters, and certain monasteries, churches and charities in his diocese. He died 
shortly after, on January 8, 1285. 

After his recall to the memory of man as mentioned in the opening paragraph 
of this notice, miracles were reported at his tomb, and St Thorfinn was venerated 
by the Cistercians and around Bruges. In our own day his memory has been 
revived among the few Catholics of Norway, and his feast is observed in his episcopal 
city of Hamar. The tradition of Thorfinn's holiness ultimately rests on the poem 
of Walter de Muda, wherein he appears as a kind, patient, generous man, whose 
mild exterior covered a firm will against whatever he esteemed to be evil and 
ungodly. 

The text of Walter de Muda's poem and other pieces were printed in the Acta Sanctorum , 
January 8. St Thorfinn is shown in his historical setting by Mrs Undset in Saga of Saints 
(1934). See also De Visch's Bibliotheca scriptorum ordinis Cisterciensis. 


9 l ST MARCIANA, Virgin and Martyr (c. a.d. 303) 

SHE was a native of Rusuccur, a place in Mauritania, and, courageously 
despising all worldly advantages to secure the possession of heavenly grace, 
she bid defiance to the pagan idolaters in the persecution of Diocletian. 
Marciana was beaten with clubs, and her chastity exposed to the rude attempts of 
gladiators, in which danger God miraculously preserved her, and she became the 
happy instrument of the conversion of one of them to the faith. At length she 
was torn in pieces by a wild bull and a leopard in the amphitheatre at Caesarea in 
Mauritania, about 100 miles west of the modern city of Algiers. 

She is probably also commemorated on July 12 in the ancient breviary of Toledo, and 
in the Roman and some other martyrologies both on July 12 and January 9. See a beautiful 
ancient hymn in her praise in the Mozarabic breviary, and her acts in the Acta Sanctorum^ 
though their authority is more than questionable. She was especially honoured in Spain, 
where she is patron of Tortosa, unless, indeed, there is really another martyr, likewise called 
Marciana, who, according to the Roman Martyrology, suffered at Toledo on July 12 (BHL., 
n. 780). 

SS. JULIAN AND BASILISSA, and Companions, Martyrs (a.d. 304 ?) 

According to their " acts " and the ancient martyrologies, Julian and Basilissa, 
though engaged in the married state, lived by mutual consent in perpetual chastity, 
sanctified themselves by the exercises of an ascetic life, and employed their revenues 
in relieving the poor and the sick. For this purpose they converted their house 
into a kind of hospital, in which, if we may credit their acts, they sometimes 
entertained a thousand indigent persons : Basilissa attended those of her sex ; 
Julian, on his part, ministered to the men with such charity that he was later on 
confused with St Julian the Hospitaller. Egypt, where they lived, had then begun 
to abound with examples of persons who, either in the cities or in the deserts, 
devoted themselves to charity, penance and contemplation. Basilissa, after having 
endured severe persecution, died in peace ; Julian survived her many years, and 

56 


ST PETER OF SEBASTEA [January 9 

received the crown of a glorious martyrdom, together with Celsus a youth, Antony 
a priest, Anastasius and Marcianilla, the mother of Celsus. 

What purport to be the acts of these saints are mere romances abounding in contradictions. 
See the Acta Sanctorum for January 9. The historical existence of any such couple is more 
than doubtful. One of the versions of the legend of St Alexis (July 17) seems to be simply 
a transcription of the first paragraphs of their long passio. 

ST PETER, Bishop of Sebastea (a.d. 391) 

The family to which St Peter belonged was ancient and illustrious, but the names 
of his ancestors are long since buried in oblivion, whilst those of the saints whom 
his parents gave to the Church are immortal in the records of our Christian faith. 
In this family three brothers were at the same time eminently holy bishops, St 
Basil, St Gregory of Nyssa and St Peter of Sebastea ; their eldest sister, St Macrina, 
was the spiritual mother of many saints and excellent doctors ; and their father and 
mother, St Basil the Elder and St Emmelia, were banished for their faith in the 
reign of the Emperor Galerius Maximian, and fled into the deserts of Pontus. 
Finally, the grandmother was the celebrated St Macrina the Elder, who was 
instructed in the science of salvation by St Gregory Thaumaturgus. Peter of 
Sebastea was the youngest of ten children and lost his father in his cradle, so that 
his eldest sister, Macrina, took charge of his education. In this duty her only aim 
was to instruct him in religion : profane studies she thought of little use to one 
whose thoughts were set upon the world to come. Neither did he resent these 
restrictions, confining his aspirations to the monastic state. His mother had 
founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women ; the former she put 
under the direction of her son Basil, the latter under that of Macrina. Peter joined 
the house governed by his brother, situated on the bank of the River Iris. When 
St Basil was obliged to surrender that charge in 362 he appointed St Peter his 
successor, who discharged this office for many years with great prudence and virtue. 
When the provinces of Pontus and Cappadocia were visited by severe famine, he 
gave proof of his charity. Human prudence would have advised him to be frugal 
in the relief of others till his own community were secured against that calamity ; 
but Peter had studied the principles of Christian charity in another school, and 
liberally disposed of all that belonged to the monastery to supply with necessaries 
the destitute people who daily resorted to him in that time of distress. W T hen St 
Basil was made bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia in 370 he promoted Peter to the 
priesthood. Basil died on January 1 in 379, and Macrina in the November of the 
same year. Eustathius, Bishop of Sebastea in Armenia, an Arian and a persecutor 
of St Basil, seems to have died shortly after them ; for Peter was consecrated bishop 
of Sebastea in 380 to root out the Arian heresy in that diocese. The evil had taken 
such deep root that the zeal of a saint was necessary to deal with it. A letter which 
St Peter wrote, and which is prefixed to St Gregory of Nyssa's books against 
Eunomius, has entitled him to a place among the ecclesiastical writers ; and it is a 
standing proof that though he had confined himself to sacred studies, yet by good 
conversation and reading, and by his own natural gifts, he was inferior to none but 
his incomparable brother Basil and his colleague Gregory Nazianzen in solid 
eloquence. In 381 St Peter attended the general council held at Constantinople. 
Not only his brother St Gregory of Nyssa but also Theodoret, and all antiquity, 
bear testimony to his sanctity, prudence and zeal. His death occurred in summer 

57 


January 9] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

about the year 391, and his brother of Nyssa mentions that his memory was hon- 
oured at Sebastea (probably the very year after his death) by a solemn celebration, 
together with that of some other martyrs of the same city. His name occurs in the 
Roman Martyrology on January 9. 

It is a wonderful thing to meet with a whole family of saints. This prodigy 
of grace, under God, was owing to the example, prayers and exhortations of the 
elder St Macrina. From her they learned to imbibe the true spirit of self-denial 
and humility which all Christians confess to be the fundamental maxim of the 
gospel. Unfortunately it generally happens that the principle is accepted as a 
matter of speculation only, whereas it is in the heart that this foundation is to be laid. 

We have little information about St Peter of Sebastea beyond the casual allusions contained 
in St Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Macrina (in Migne, PC, vol. xlvi, pp. 960 seq.). His letter 
addressed to his brother Gregory of Nyssa, entreating him to complete his treatise against 
Eunomius, is printed in PG., vol. xlv, pp. 241 seq. See also Acta Sanctorum, January 9 ; 
DCB., vol. iv, pp. 345-346 ; and Bardenhewer, Patrology (Eng. trans.), pp. 295-297. 

ST WANINGUS, or VANENG (c. a.d. 683) 

From various Merovingian sources it appears that Vaneng was made by Clotaire III 
governor of that part of Neustria, or Normandy, which is called Pays de Caux, at 
which time he took great pleasure in hunting. Nevertheless, he was particularly 
devout to St Eulalia of Barcelona, called in Guienne St Aulaire. One night he 
seemed in a dream to hear that holy virgin and martyr repeat to him those words 
of our Redeemer in the Gospel, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the 
eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved ". This was the turning point in 
his life. He was entirely converted to God. He assisted St Wandrille in founding 
the abbey at Fontenelle, and founded in the valley of Fecamp a church in honour 
of the Holy Trinity, with a great nunnery adjoining, under the direction of St Ouen 
and St Wandrille. Hildemarca, a very virtuous nun, was called from Bordeaux 
and appointed the first abbess. Under her three hundred and sixty nuns served 
God in this house, and were divided into as many choirs as were sufficient, in relays, 
to continue the divine office night and day without interruption. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, January 9 ; and also Vacandard, Vie de Saint Ouen. The Vie 
de Saint Vaneng, by C. Labbe, was re-edited by Michael Hardy in 1873 (cf. BHL., n. 1272). 

ST ADRIAN, Abbot of Canterbury (a.d. 710) 

Adrian was an African by birth, and was abbot of Nerida, not far from Naples, 
when Pope St Vitalian, upon the death of St Deusdedit, the archbishop of Canter- 
bury, judged him for his learning and virtue to be the most suitable person to be 
the teacher of a nation still young in the faith. The humble servant of God found 
means to decline that dignity by recommending St Theodore in his place, but was 
willing to share in the more laborious part of the ministry. The pope therefore 
enjoined him to be the assistant and adviser of the archbishop, to which Adrian 
readily agreed. 

St Theodore made him abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, afterwards 
called St Augustine's, at Canterbury, where he taught Greek and Latin, the learning 
of the fathers, and, above all, virtue. Under Adrian and Theodore this monastic 
school at Canterbury had a far-reaching influence — St Aldhelm came there from 
Wessex, Oftfor from Whitby, and even students from Ireland. Roman law could 

58 


BD ALIX LE CLERCQ [January 9 

be studied as well as the ecclesiastical sciences ; and Bede says that there were 
pupils of St Adrian who had a good knowledge of Greek and spoke Latin as well 
as they did English. St Adrian had illuminated this island by his doctrine and 
the example of his holy life, for the space of thirty-nine years, when he departed 
to our Lord on January 9 in the year 710. 

Goscelin of Canterbury has left an extremely interesting account of the discovery of St 
Adrian's body, incorrupt and fragrant, in 1091 (see Migne, PL., vol. civ, cc. 36-38). The 
account is at least indirectly confirmed by later excavations ; see Archaeologia Cantiana 
(191 7), vol. xxxii, p. 18. His tomb was famed for miracles, as we are assured by Goscelin, 
quoted by William of Malmesbury and Capgrave ; and his name was inserted in English 
calendars. See the Acta Sanctorum for January 9, where passages from Bede and Capgrave 
are reproduced ; and BHL., n. 558. 

ST BERHTWALD, Archbishop of Canterbury (a.d. 731) 

The claim of Berhtwald (whose name is variously spelt Berctuald, Brithwald, etc.) 
to be counted as a saint is somewhat questionable, and there is next to no evidence 
of cultus. He was certainly abbot of Reculver in Kent, and was elected archbishop 
in 692, but only consecrated a year later, in Gaul by the archbishop of Lyons ; he 
probably then went on to Rome for the pallium. Berhtwald was tactful and 
energetic during the course of his long episcopate — thirty-seven years — and we 
find him in friendly relations with St Aldhelm, St Boniface and other prominent 
and holy ecclesiastics ; but his attitude towards St Wilfrid was not sympathetic. 
He died in January 731. A letter written to Berhtwald by Waldhere, Bishop of 
London, is the first extant letter from one Englishman to another. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 9 ; DNB., vol. vi, p. 343 ; and Plummer's Bede, vol. ii, 
p. 283. 

BD ALIX LE CLERCQ* Virgin, Co-Foundress of the Augustinian 
Canonesses Regular of the Congregation of Our Lady (a.d. 
1622) 

One of the outstanding achievements of the Counter-Reformation — like some of 
its others, long overdue — was the beginning of proper provision for the schooling 
and education of girls. In 1535 St Angela Merici had founded the Ursulines for 
this work ; the teaching Religious of Notre Dame were begun by St Joan de 
Lestonnac in 1606 ; in 1609 Mary Ward opened her first school for poor children ; 
and to these must be added the establishment by St Peter Fourier of the Augus- 
tinian Canonesses of the Congregation of Our Lady, an undertaking in which Alix 
Le Clercq came to be associated as co-foundress. 

She was born at Remiremont in the duchy of Lorraine in 1576. Her family 
was a solid one, of good position, but little is known about her life until she was 
nearly seventeen. By that time she was a tall, good-looking girl, fair in colouring, 
of a somewhat delicate constitution, attractive and intelligent : in a word Alix was, 
as Mgr Francis Gonne remarks, what the French call spirituelle. Another account, 
written by herself, tells us that she revelled in such pleasures as music and dancing, 
and being very popular was subjected to a good deal of flattery. The implication 
is that she " revelled " too much : perhaps she did ; but it should be remembered 
that, when once people have become convinced that they have any faults at all, 
they are apt to exaggerate them. And there is good evidence, her own, that even 

59 


January 9] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

at this time Alix Le Clercq was not devoid of " seriousness " : " amid all the gaiety 
her heart was sad ", and gradually her harmless pleasures seemed to her to be no 
more than frivolity. 

Then, when she was nineteen, she had the first of the striking dreams that 
became so marked a feature in her life. In this dream she was in church and 
approaching the altar, when beside it she saw our Lady, dressed in a strange 
religious habit, who beckoned her, saying, " Come, daughter, and I will welcome 
you ". Soon after, the Le Clercq family moved to Hymont, and Alix first met St 
Peter Fourier, who was parish priest of Mattaincourt, near by. It was in the church 
of this village, at Mass on three Sundays running, that she seemed to hear the 
seductive music of a dance-drum, and then seemed to see its player, an evil spirit, 
followed by a crowd of young people, " full of sprightly merriment ". There and 
then her conversion to a different sort of life was complete : "I resolved on the 
spot that I would not belong to such a company ". 

Alix straightway cast aside her fine clothes and wore a simple peasant dress ; 
she hardly left her home ; and, under the careful direction of Father Fourier, she 
set herself to discover — not without much spiritual suffering — what it was that 
God required of her. Both her father and the priest proposed that she should go 
into a convent : but she said " No " to this, for from another dream she had 
learned that it was in no existing order that her vocation lay. She told St Peter 
Fourier that she was obsessed by the idea of a new, " active ", foundation. He was 
very properly sceptical about this, but at length told her to see if she could find 
other girls of like mind — unlikely enough in a remote village of the Vosges. But 
sure enough Alix found them. 

And so at the midnight Mass of Christmas 1597 AlixLe Clercq, Ganthe Andre, 
and Isabel and Joan de Louvroir were allowed publicly to dedicate themselves 
wholly to God. Four weeks later it was made clear to St Peter Fourier that these 
neophytes were to found a community under his direction. But meanwhile they 
were the subject of adverse criticism. " The unassuming behaviour of these girls 
was called singularity ; their zeal, religiosity ; their simple dress, hypocritical 
affectation ; and their humble bearing, silliness." This gossip naturally upset 
Mr Le Clercq ; but he lacked imagination, and could think of nothing better than 
to order his daughter to go as a boarder to a convent of Tertiaries of St Elizabeth 
at Ormes. She obeyed ; and found this relaxed convent to be something like 
what we should call a women's residential club. But her father would not let her 
come home. 

A way out of the impasse was opened from an unexpected quarter. Three miles 
from Mattaincourt, at the village of Poussay, there was an abbey of secular canon- 
esses, aristocratic and wealthy ladies who led a form of the conventual life mercifully 
no longer existing in the Church. One of these good ladies, Madame Judith 
d'Apremont, made up her mind to sponsor Alix Le Clercq and her three com- 
panions and to lodge them in a small house on her estate. Accordingly they took 
up their quarters there on the eve of Corpus Christi 1598 ; and after a retreat they 
unanimously and independently declared to Father Fourier that they believed 
themselves called to begin a new congregation, that for them this was what would 
be most pleasing to God. It was decided that their work should be education, 
" to teach children to read and write and sew, and especially to love and serve 
God " ; that they should never give up this work ; and that it should be done, 
whether for rich or poor, without charge, " as that is more pleasing to God ". 

60 


BD ALIX LE CLERCQ [January 9 

The life of the embryonic congregation was notable in these early days for a 
measure of physical austerity that was later to be found incompatible with the hard 
discipline of teaching the young. But the spectacle of such devotion at their very 
door inspired some of the younger canonesses of the abbey to ask to be transferred 
to the new foundation — they wanted to stop having " all the privileges of the 
conventual life with none of its hardships ". Their lady abbess, Madame d'Amon- 
court, was alarmed — many monasteries in France had learned nothing from the 
impact of the Reformation on monasticism in other lands — fearing that her own 
community might be broken up ; and for some weeks there was a rather critical 
situation. But again Madame d'Apremont solved the difficulty, by providing 
another house, this time at Mattaincourt. It was to be the first proper convent of 
the new congregation. 

But as yet the sisters were not formally religious, and their anomalous position 
upset Mr Le Clercq, who again interfered with his daughter, telling her that she 
was to withdraw to the Poor Clare house at Verdun. St Peter Fourier told Alix 
she must obey, and in great anguish of spirit she got ready. But her father, moved 
as he said by some power beyond his understanding, withdrew his order and ceased 
to interfere. There then occurred a determined attempt on the part of a Franciscan 
Recollect friar, Father Fleurant Boulengier, to " capture " the community for the 
Poor Clares. Peter Fourier's belief in the divine acceptance of his foundation 
wavered : he recommended, with a force only short of a direct command, that they 
should regularize their position by joining the Clares — Alix and her companions 
refused. " We have banded together ", they said, " to look after neglected children: 
why should we be dragged away from this and sent to a convent that God does not 
want us to go to ? " 

Father Fourier, in equal good faith, interpreted the will of God in the opposite 
sense. It is an old dilemma. Or was he just trying them ? In any case, after 
months of uncertainty, he accepted the sisters' decision, and so did Father Fleurant. 

In 1 601 St Peter Fourier and Bd Alix made their second foundation, at Saint- 
Mihiel ; Nancy, Pont-a-Mousson, Saint-Nicolas de Port, Verdun and Chalons 
followed, the last, in 161 3, being the first outside Lorraine. All this time there 
was no sign from Rome of official approval for the new congregation. The novel 
request that day-pupils should be taken, and therefore admitted into the enclosure, 
roused hostility (" The Church is going to the dogs, sir ! ") ; and the delay in 
approbation lent an edge to wagging tongues and endangered the existence of the 
convents. Fourier sent Bd Alix and another sister to the Ursulines in Paris to 
learn more about monastic life and teaching methods and again they were invited 
to give up a separate existence. This time Alix seriously considered if it were not 
the best thing to do. Father (afterwards cardinal) de Berulle settled it. "I don't 
believe ", he declared to her bluntly, " that God is asking for this fusion. Dismiss 
it from your mind." 

It was not till 161 6 that in two bulls the Holy See signified its first approval of 
the Augustinian Canonesses of the Congregation of Our Lady.* Subsequently 
the Bishop of Toul approved their constitutions ; and St Peter Fourier then 
proceeded to clothe thirteen of them with the habit, designed in accordance with 
what Bd Alix had seen our Lady wearing in the dream recorded above ; and then 
they all had to begin a twelve months' novitiate, in spite of the fact that some of 

* Their style as " canonesses " was confirmed in 1628 ; it carried with it of course the 
obligation and privilege of reciting the Divine Office in choir. 

61 


January 9] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

them had been leading a conventual life for twenty years. But all was not well. 
The papal bulls of approbation had not mentioned the congregation as a whole, 
but only its convent at Nancy. Now there was already a certain " feeling " 
between this house and the others, for Nancy was under the protection of Cardinal 
Charles of Lorraine, and the primate of Lorraine, Antony de Lenoncourt, had 
practically taken its direction out of Father Fourier's hands into his own. The 
apparent partiality of the bulls aggravated this spirit of dissension, and a very 
unhappy state of affairs resulted. In the upshot Bd Alix had to yield her rightful 
place as superioress in the congregation to Mother Ganthe Andre, " without 
whom ", in the words of Father Fourier, " our order would never have been 
established ", though she and Alix were far from being in agreement about its 
organization. 

That sort of trial heroic sanctity seems to take in its stride. But that was not 
all. Bd Alix was subjected to personal attack and the venom of slanderous rumour. 
At the same time she had to face spiritual dryness, temptations and a " dark night " 
of great severity. And as, in the words of one of her nuns, " she entered into the 
sufferings of others so feelingly that she made them her own ", her burden was 
indeed heavy : she had plenty of opportunity to put into practice her own axiom — 
common to all saints and mystics — " I value one act of humility more than a 
hundred ecstasies ". Further opportunities were provided by St Peter Fourier 
himself. Bd Alix is now recognized as the co -foundress of the Augustinian 
Canonesses of Our Lady ; but it was not so while she lived, and Father Fourier 
did not allow it to appear so. He consistently and openly " kept her in her place ". 
It is possible that he was, in a sense, a little afraid of her, for in contrast with his 
own solid, cautious temperament, Alix Le Clercq must often have seemed to him 
alarmingly " imaginative ". 

In December 1621 she was allowed to resign the office of local superioress at 
Nancy, and she entered upon a few weeks of radiant peace, which was in fact a 
prelude to death a month later. She had been seriously ill for a long time, and now 
when it was known the doctors had given up hope all Nancy was grieved, from the 
duke and duchess of Lorraine to the school-girls and the beggar-women. St Peter 
Fourier hurried to Nancy, but he would not enter the conventual enclosure till the 
bishop ordered him to do so. Then he heard Alix's confession and prepared her 
for the passage " from death to life ". On the Epiphany she took a solemn farewell 
of her community, exhorting them to love and unity, and on January 9, after a 
searching agony, the end came. Bd Alix was not quite forty-six. 

High and low acclaimed her as a saint, and steps were taken to collect evidence 
for the prosecution of her cause. But nothing was done more definitely, war 
pushed it out of sight, and it was not till 1947 that Alix Le Clercq was beatified. 
Her body was buried in the crypt under the convent chapel at Nancy. During 
the Revolution this convent was sacked ; it is said that Bd Alix's body was hastily 
buried in the garden for safety, but all efforts to find it have failed. That would 
have pleased her humility, she whose deeds of love and spiritual insights and visions 
were so far as possible concealed. She was completely at ease only when she could 
be humble and obedient, teaching the ABC and simple addition to half-a-dozen 
little children at Poussay or Mattaincourt, for instance. But in the long disagree- 
ments and uncertainties about the organization of the congregation, in such matters 
she was mistress of herself and of the policies she believed right ; and she was 
always an excellent superior. But a Protestant historian, Professor Pfister, has 

62 


ST JOHN THE GOOD [January 10 

acutely remarked that, "When she was appointed to direct the Nancy house, she had 
only one ambition ; and that was again to be a simple sister, teaching their letters to 
the four and five-year-olds in the bottom class ". The last word about Bd Alix Le 
Clercq is with Mother Angelique Milly — " she was the child of deep silence ". 

In 1666 the Nancy convent published what purported to be a life of Alix le Clercq but 
was in fact an extremely valuable collection of documents bearing on that life. It was due 
to a copy of this book coming into the hands of the young Count Gandelet that the cause of 
her beatification was begun by the Bishop of Saint-Die" in 1885. The first biography proper 
to be published appeared at Nancy in 1773 (one of 1766 remains in manuscript), and then 
not another till 1858, after which there were several. La Mere Alix Le Clercq (1935), by 
Canon Edmond Renard, is the standard modern work, full, critical and well written. In 
English there is a short but very good biography by Margaret St L. West (1947). Reference 
can also be made to the standard lives of St Peter Fourier by Father Bedel (1645), Dom 
Vuillemin (1897), and Father Rogie, of which the last is the best. The writer of the preface 
to the English life of Bd Alix speaks of the excellent methods used in the schools conducted 
by her congregation. Fourier himself used to instruct his canonesses in pedagogy, and brief 
reference to some of his enlightened educational ideas is made in the notice accorded to him 
herein on December 9. The feast of Bd Alix is now kept on October 22. 


10 


ST MARCIAN (a.d. 471) 


MARCIAN was born, and spent his life, in Constantinople, of a Roman 
family related to the imperial house of Theodositis. From his childhood 
he served God, and he secretly gave away great sums to the poor. About 
the year 455 the Patriarch Anatolius, disregarding the saint's protests of unworthi- 
ness, ordained him priest. In this new state Marcian saw himself under a stricter 
obligation than before of labouring to reach the summit of Christian perfection ; 
and whilst he made the instruction of the poor his favourite employment, he 
redoubled his earnestness in providing for their bodily needs, and was careful to 
relax no part of his own austerities. The severity of his morals was made a handle, 
by those who resented the tacit censure of such an example, to fasten upon him a 
suspicion of Novatianism, but his meekness at length triumphed over the slander. 
This persecution served more and more to purify his soul. His virtue only shone 
forth with greater lustre than ever when the cloud was dispersed, and the Patriarch 
Gennadius, with the great applause of the whole body of the clergy and people, 
conferred on him the dignity of Oikonomos, which was the second in that church. 
St Marcian built or restored a number of churches in Constantinople, notably that 
known as the Anastasis, and was famous for miracles both before and after his 
death, which probably occurred in 471. He has been regarded by some as a writer 
of liturgical hymns. 

He is honoured both in the Greek Menaion and Roman Martyrology. See his ancient 
anonymous life in Surius and in the Acta Sunctorum, January 10. Cf. also DCB., vol. iii, 
p. 185 ; and K. Krumbacher, Geschichte der By zantinis chert Literatur, p. 663. 

ST JOHN THE GOOD, Bishop of Milan (a.d. 660) 

The see of the leading bishopric of Liguria had been transferred in the earlier part 
of the seventh century from Milan to Genoa. In the pontificate of St John 
Camillus Bonus it was again restored to Milan. We are told that he was a strenuous 
defender of orthodoxy against the monothelites, and that he took part in the Council 

63 


January 10] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of the Lateran in 649. Beyond this we know very little of the saint who is com- 
memorated in the Roman Martyrology on this day. There is not much indication 
of cultus until after Archbishop Aribert in the eleventh century discovered the body 
of St John. A second translation was carried out by St Charles Borromeo in 1582. 
St John is said to have died on January 3, 660. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 10 ; and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xv (1896), p. 357. 
Cf. P. Olcese, Biografia di S. Giovanni Bono (1894). 

ST AGATHO, Pope (a.d. 681) 

Agatho, a Sicilian Greek by birth, was remarkable for his benevolence and an 
engaging sweetness of temper. He had been married and engaged in secular 
pursuits for twenty years before he became a monk at Palermo ; and was treasurer 
of the Church at Rome when he succeeded Donus in the pontificate in 678. He 
presided by his three legates at the sixth general council (the third of Constantin- 
ople) in 680 against the monothelite heresy, which he confuted in a learned letter 
by the tradition of the apostolic church of Rome : " acknowledged ", says he, " by 
the whole Catholic Church to be the mother and mistress of all churches, and to 
derive her superior authority from St Peter, the prince of the apostles, to whom 
Christ committed His whole flock, with a promise that his faith should never fail ". 
This epistle was approved as a rule of faith by the same council, which declared 
that " Peter spoke by Agatho ". This pope restored St Wilfrid to the see of York, 
and granted privileges to several English monasteries. A terrible plague which 
devastated Rome at this period may have been at least the indirect cause of his own 
death, which occurred in 681. 

St Agatho lived in troubled times. The reason he alleges in excusing the bad 
Greek of the legates whom he sent to Constantinople was that the graces of speech 
could not be cultivated amidst the incursions of barbarians, whilst with much 
difficulty they earned their daily subsistence by manual labour ; " but we preserve", 
said he with simplicity of heart, " the faith which our fathers have handed down 
to us ". The bishops, his legates, say the same thing : " Our countries are 
harassed by the fury of barbarous nations. We live in the midst of battles, raids 
and devastations : our lives pass in continual alarms, and we subsist by the labour 
of our hands." Pope Agatho himself had died before the council concluded its 
sessions. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 10, and especially Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, 
vol. i, pp. 350-358 ; cf. Mann, Lives of the Popes, vol. ii, pp. 23-48. 

ST PETER ORSEOLO (a.d. 987) 

The vocation of St Peter Orseolo (Urseolus) must count among the strangest of 
those recorded in ecclesiastical history. Born in 928 of a distinguished Venetian 
family, he seems already at the age of twenty to have been appointed to the command 
of the fleet of the city of the lagoons, in which office he conducted a successful 
campaign against the Dalmatian pirates who infested the Adriatic. How far he 
was personally involved in the popular outbreak of 976, which ended in the violent 
death of the Doge Peter Candiani IV, and in the destruction by fire of a large part 
of the city, cannot be clearly determined. The testimony of St Peter Damian 
which attributes the responsibility to Orseolo can only be accepted with reserve. 

64 


ST WILLIAM OF BOURGES [January 10 

It was, however, Orseolo who was chosen doge in place of the murdered Candiani, 
and the best modern authorities pay a high tribute to his energy and tact during 
his brief administration. " He was ", we are told, " a man of saintly character, 
but like all his race possessing higher qualities of statesmanship than were to be 
found in his predecessors in the ducal chair. His first care was to repair the damage 
wrought by the fire. He began the building of a new palace and church. He 
renewed the treaty with Istria. But his great service to the state lay in this, that 
he met and settled, to the nominal satisfaction of Otto II, the claims of the widowed 
dogaressa Gualdrada. . . . On these terms Gualdrada signed a quittance of all 
claims against the State of Venice." The grievances of Gualdrada had created a 
great political crisis, but this was now safely tided over. 

Then an astounding thing happened. On the night of September i, 978, 
Peter Orseolo secretly left Venice and took refuge in the Benedictine abbey of Cuxa, 
in Roussillon on the borders of France and Spain. His wife, to whom he had been 
married for thirty-two years, and his only son, who was himself destined to become 
one of the greatest of the Venetian doges, were apparently for a long time in entire 
ignorance of the place of his retreat. Still, Peter's apparently sudden resolution 
may not have been so entirely unpremeditated as it seems. There is early evidence 
for the belief that he and his wife had lived as brother and sister ever since the birth 
of their only child, and it has also been suggested that a letter of Ratherius, addressed 
to him possibly as early as 968, shows that Peter had already entertained the idea 
of becoming a monk. There is in any case no doubt that at Cuxa Orseolo led for 
a while a life of the strictest asceticism and self-effacement under the holy Abbot 
Guarinus ; and then, desirous of still greater solitude, he built a hermitage for 
himself, probably at the urging of St Romuald, whom he met at Cuxa, and who 
was the great propagator of this particular development of the Benedictine vocation. 
St Peter died in 987, and many miracles were said to have taken place at his tomb. 

See Mabillon, vol. v, pp. 851 seq. ; Tolra, Saint Pierre Orseolo (1897) ; Analecta Bollan- 
diana, vol. xvii (1898), p. 252 ; BHL., n. 986. And cf. H. F. Brown in the Cambridge 
Mediaeval History, vol. iv, p. 403 (quoted above). 

ST WILLIAM, Archbishop of Bourges (a.d. 1209) 

William de Donjeon, belonging to an illustrious family of Nevers, was educated 
by his uncle, Peter, Archdeacon of Soissons, and he was early made canon, first of 
Soissons and afterwards of Paris ; but he soon took the resolution of abandoning 
the world altogether, and retired into the solitude of Grandmont Abbey, where he 
lived with great regularity in that austere order, till, seeing its peace disturbed by a 
contest which arose between the choir monks and lay-brothers, he passed into the 
Cistercians, then in wonderful repute for sanctity. He took the habit in the abbey 
of Pontigny, and was after some time chosen abbot, first of Fontaine- Jean, in the 
diocese of Sens, and secondly in 1 187 of Chalis, near Senlis, a much more numerous 
monastery, also a filiation of Pontigny, built by Louis the Fat in 1 136, a little before 
his death. St William always reputed himself the last among his brethren ; and 
the sweetness of his expression testified to the joy and peace that overflowed his 
soul, and made virtue appear engaging even in the midst of formidable austerities. 
On the death of Henry de Sully, Archbishop of Bourges, the clergy of that 
church requested his brother Eudo, Bishop of Paris, to assist them in the election 
of a pastor. Desirous to choose some abbot of the Cistercian Order, they put on 

65 


January 10] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the altar the names of three, written on as many slips of parchment. This manner 
of election by lot would have been superstitious had it been done relying on a 
miracle without the warrant of divine inspiration. But it did not deserve this 
censure, when all the persons proposed seemed equally worthy and fit, as the choice 
was only recommended to God, and left to this issue by following the rules of His 
ordinary providence and imploring His light. Eudo accordingly, having made 
his prayer, drew first the name of the abbot William, to whom also the majority of 
the votes of the clergy had been already given. It was on November 23, 1200. 
This news overwhelmed William. He never would have acquiesced had he not 
received a double command in virtue of obedience, one from Pope Innocent III, 
the other from his superior, the Abbot of Citeaux. He left his solitude with tears, 
and soon after was consecrated. 

In this new dignity St William's first care was to bring both his exterior and 
interior life up to the highest possible standard, being very sensible that a man's 
first task is to honour God in his own soul. He redoubled his austerities, saying 
it was now incumbent on him to do penance for others as well as for himself. He 
always wore a hair-shirt under his religious habit, and never added or diminished 
anything in his clothing whatever the season of the year ; and he never ate any 
rlesh-meat, though he had it at his table for guests. The attention he paid to his 
flock was no less remarkable, especially in assisting the poor both spiritually and 
corporally, saying that he was chiefly sent for them. He was most gentle in dealing 
with penitent sinners, but inflexible towards the impenitent, though he refused to 
have recourse to the civil power against them, the usual remedy of that age. Many 
such he at last reclaimed by his sweetness and charity. Certain great men abusing 
his leniency, usurped the rights of his church ; but William strenuously defended 
them even against the king himself, notwithstanding his threats to confiscate his 
lands. By humility and patience he overcame, on more than one occasion, the 
opposition of his chapter and other clergy. He converted many Albigensian 
heretics, and was preparing for a mission among them at the time he was seized 
with his last illness. He persisted, nevertheless, in preaching a farewell sermon 
to his people, which increased his fever to such a degree that he was obliged to 
postpone his journey and take to his bed. The night following, perceiving his last 
hour was at hand, he desired to anticipate the Nocturns, which are said at midnight ; 
but having made the sign of the cross on his lips and breast, he was unable to 
pronounce more than the first two words. Then, at a sign which he made, he was 
laid on ashes, and thus St William died, a little past midnight, on the morning of 
January 10, 1209. His body was interred in his cathedral, and being honoured by 
many miracles it was enshrined in 12 17, and in the year following he was canonized 
by Pope Honorius III. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 10, and the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. iii (1884), 
pp. 271-361 ; BHL., nn. 1283-1284. 

BD GREGORY X, Pope (ad. 1276) 

Theobald Visconti belonged to an illustrious Italian family and was born at 
Piacenza in 12 10. In his youth he was distinguished for his virtue and his success 
as a student. He devoted himself especially to canon law, which he began in Italy 
and pursued at Paris and Liege. He was acting as archdeacon of this last church 
when he received an order from Pope Clement IV to preach the crusade for the 

66 


ST HYGINUS [January n 

recovery of the Holy Land. A tender compassion for the distressed situation of 
the servants of Christ in those parts moved the holy archdeacon to undertake a 
dangerous pilgrimage to Palestine, where Prince Edward of England then was. 
At this time the see of Rome had been vacant almost three years, from the death 
of Clement IV in November 1268, since the cardinals who were assembled at 
Viterbo could not come to an agreement in the choice of a pope. At last, by com- 
mon consent, they referred the election to a committee of six amongst them, who 
on September 1, 1271 nominated Theobald Visconti. 

Arriving in Rome in March, he was first ordained priest, then consecrated 
bishop, and crowned on the 27th of the same month, in 1272. He took the name 
of Gregory X, and to procure the most effectual succour for the Holy Land he 
called a general council to meet at Lyons. This fourteenth general council, the 
second of Lyons, was opened in May 1274. Among those assembled were St 
Albert the Great and St Philip Benizi ; St Thomas Aquinas died on his way 
thither, and St Bonaventure died at the council. In the fourth session the Greek 
legates on behalf of the Eastern emperor and patriarch restored communion between 
the Byzantine church and the Holy See. Pope Gregory, we are told, shed tears 
whilst the Te Deum was sung. Unhappily the reconciliation was short-lived. 

After the council, Bd Gregory devoted all his energies to concerting measures 
for carrying its decrees into execution, particularly those relating to the crusade 
in the East, which, however, never set out. This unwearied application to business, 
and the fatigues of his journey across the Alps on his return to Rome brought on 
a serious illness, of which he died at Arezzo on January 10, 1276. The name of 
Gregory X was added to the Roman Martyrology by Pope Benedict XIV ; his 
holiness was always recognized, and had he lived longer he would doubtless have 
left a deeper mark on the Church. 

The account of his life and miracles in the archives of the tribunal of the Rota may be 
found in Benedict XIV, De canoniz., bk ii, appendix 8. See likewise his life, copied from 
the MS. history of several popes by Bernard Guidonis, published by Muratori, Scriptor. 
Ital.y vol. iii, p. 597, and another life, written before 1297, in which mention is made of 
miraculous cures performed by him {ibid., pp. 599, 604). There is also, of course, a copious 
modern literature regarding Bd Gregory X, dealing more especially with his relation to 
politics and his share in the election of the Emperor Rudolf of Hapsburg. It may be suffi- 
cient to mention the works of Zisteier, Otto and Redlich. The Regesta of Gregory X have 
been edited by Jean Guiraud. 


11 


ST HYGINUS, Pope (c. a.d. 142) 


IN the Roman Martyrology St Hyginus is described as a martyr, but there is 
no early evidence of this. We are told in the Liber Pontificate that he was a 
Greek by birth, but the further statement that he had been a philosopher is 
probably due to some confusion with another Hyginus. Eusebius lets us know 
that his predecessor died during the first year cf the Emperor Antoninus Pius, so 
that it is likely that the pontificate of Hyginus lasted from 138 to 142. From St 
Irenaeus we learn that at this time two Gnostic heresiarchs, Valentinus and Cerdo, 
were present in Rome and caused trouble in the Church, but how far the trouble 
had progressed before Hyginus himself was summoned to his reward is not certain. 

See Duchesne, Liber Pontificate, vol. i, p. 131 ; Acta Sanctorum, January 11. 

67 


January n] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST THEODOSIUS THE CENOBIARCH (ad. 529) 

St Theodosius was born at Garissus, incorrectly, it seems, called Mogarissus, in 
Cappadocia in 423. He was ordained reader, but being moved by Abraham's 
example in quitting his country and friends, he resolved to do likewise. He 
accordingly started for Jerusalem, but went out of his road to visit the famous St 
Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold many circumstances of his future life, 
»nd gave him advice regarding them. Having satisfied his devotion in visiting 
the holv places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should 
dedicate himself to God. The dangers of living without a guide made him prefer 
a monastery to a hermitage ; and he therefore put himself under the direction 
of a holy man named Longinus, who soon conceived a warm affection for his 
disciple. A lady having built a church on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus 
could not well refuse her request that his pupil should undertake the charge of 
it ; but Theodosius could not easily be induced to consent : absolute commands 
were necessary before he would undertake the charge. Nor did he govern long ; 
instead he retired to a cave at the top of a neighbouring mountain. 

When many sought to serve God under his direction Theodosius at first deter- 
mined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, 
and at length came to a resolution never to reject any that presented themselves 
with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks 
was by means of a great grave he had dug, which might serve for the common 
burial-place of the community, that by the presence of this reminder they might 
more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day 
said, " The grave is made ; who will first occupy it ? " Basil, a priest, falling on 
his knees, said to St Theodosius, " Let me be the first, if only you will give me your 
blessing." The abbot ordered the prayers of the Church for the dead to be offered 
up for him, and on the fortieth day Basil departed to the Lord in peace, without 
any apparent sickness. 

When the holy company of disciples was twelve in number, it happened that 
at Easter they had nothing to eat— they had not even bread for the sacrifice. Some 
murmured, but the saint bade them trust in God and He would provide : which 
was soon remarkably verified by the arrival of a train of mules loaded with provi- 
sions. The sanctity and miracles of St Theodosius attracting numbers who 
desired to serve God under his direction, the available space proved too small for 
their reception. Accordingly he built a spacious monastery at a place called 
Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, and it was soon filled with monks. To this 
monastery were annexed three infirmaries : one for the sick ; another for the aged 
and feeble ; the third for such as had lost their reason, a condition then commonly 
ascribed to diabolical possession, but due, it would seem, in many cases, to rash 
and extravagant practices of asceticism. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were 
afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order and benevolence. There were 
other buildings for the reception of strangers, in which Theodosius exercised an 
unbounded hospitality. We are told, indeed, that there were one day above a 
hundred tables served ; and that food, when insufficient for the number of guests, 
was more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. 

The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it 
reigned regularity, silence, charity and peace. There were four churches belonging 
to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly 

68 


ST THEODOSIUS THE CENOBIARCH [January n 

composed, each speaking a different language ; the fourth was for the use of such 
as were in a state of penance, including those recovering from their lunatic or 
possessed condition before-mentioned. The nations into which his community 
was divided were the Greeks, who were by far the most numerous, and consisted 
of all those that came from any province of the empire ; the Armenians, with whom 
were joined the Arabians and Persians ; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended 
all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Slavonic tongue. Each 
nation sang the first part of the Eucharistic Liturgy to the end of the gospel in their 
own church, but after the gospel all met in the church of the Greeks, where they 
celebrated the essential part of the liturgy in Greek, and communicated all together. 
The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night in the church, and at 
the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest everyone was obliged 
to apply himself to some trade or manual labour not incompatible with recollection, 
in order that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, Patriarch 
of Jerusalem, appointed St Sabas head of all the hermits, and our saint of 
the cenobites, or men living in community, throughout Palestine, whence he was 
styled " the Cenobiarch ". These two great servants of God lived in close 
friendship, and it was not long before they were also united in their sufferings for 
the Church. 

The Emperor Anastasius patronized the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible 
means to win our saint over to his own views. In 513 he deposed Elias, Patriarch 
of Jerusalem, just as he had previously banished Flavian II of Antioch, and intruded 
Severus into that see. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the rights of Elias, 
and of John his successor ; whereupon the imperial officers thought it advisable 
to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired 
by their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of 
money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. 
The saint accepted it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius, now 
persuading himself that Theodosius was as good as gained over to his cause, sent 
him a heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ 
were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an 
answer full of apostolic spirit, and for a time the emperor was more peaceable. 
But he soon renewed his persecuting edicts against the orthodox, despatching 
troops everywhere to have them put into execution. On intelligence of this, 
Theodosius travelled through Palestine, exhorting all to stand firm in the faith of 
the four general councils. At Jerusalem he cried out from the pulpit, " If anyone 
receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema.' y 
So bold an action put courage into those whom the edicts had terrified. His 
discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his 
zeal by some striking miracles. One of these was, that on his going out of the 
church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer by touching his garments. 
The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed ; but dying 
soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his successor, Justin. 

During the last year of his life St Theodosius was afflicted with a painful 
infirmity, in which he gave proof of heroic patience and submission to the will of 
God ; for being advised by a witness of his sufferings to pray that God would grant 
him some ease, he would give no ear to the suggestion, alleging that such ideas 
implied a lack of patience. Perceiving that his end was close at hand, he addressed 
a last exhortation to his disciples, and foretold many things which came to pass after 

69 


January 12] THE LIVES OE THE SAINTS 

his death. He went to his reward in 529, in the one hundred and fifth year of his 
age. Peter, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country were present at his 
funeral, which was honoured by miracles. He was buried in his first cell, called 
the cave of the Magi, because the wise men who came to find Christ soon after his 
birth were said to have lodged in it. A military commander, on his march 
against the Persians, begged to have the hair-shirt which the saint used to wear, and 
believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them to the prayers of 
St Theodosius. 

There are two main sources for the history of St Theodosius, one the biography written 
by his disciple Theodore, Bishop of Petra, the other a shorter abstract by Cyril of Skythopolis. 
The Greek text of both of these was printed for the first time by H. Usener : see his book 
Der heilige Theodosios (1890). To the critical material thus provided, K. Krumbacher 
has made important additions in the Sitzungsbcrichte of the Munich Academy for 1892, 
pp. 220-379. Cf. also the Byzantinische Zeitschrift (1897), vol. vi, pp. 357 seq. ; Acta Sanc- 
torum, January 11 ; and E. Schwartz, Kyrillos von Skythopolis (1939), for text of the 
shorter life. 

ST SALVIUS, or SAUVE, Bishop of Amiens (c. a.d. 625) 

Famous for miracles, Salvius succeeded Ado in the see of Amiens and flourished 
in the reign of Theodoric II. His relics formerly were venerated at Montreuil in 
Picardy, in the Benedictine abbey which bore his name, whither they were translated 
from the cathedral of Amiens several years after his death, as is related in his 
anonymous life, a worthless compilation, largely borrowed, as Duchesne points out, 
from the account given of another St Salvius, of Albi, by Gregory of Tours. A 
relic of Salvius was formerly kept in the cathedral of Canterbury. This saint must 
not be confounded with St Salvius of Albi, nor with the martyr of this name in 
Africa, on whose festival St Augustine delivered a sermon. St Salvius is styled 
martyr in the Roman Marty ro logy, but for this, as Father Bollandus himself noted 
nearly three centuries ago, there is no foundation. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January n ; Duchesne, Fastes Episcopaux ; Corblet, 
Hagiographie d y Amiens, vol. iii, pp. 463 seq. 


12 


ST ARCADIUS, Martyr (a.d. 304 ?) 


THE time of this saint's martyrdom is not mentioned in his acts ; some place 
it under Valerian, others under Diocletian ; he seems to have suffered in 
some city of Mauritania, probably the capital, Caesarea. The fury of the 
persecutors was at its height. Upon the least suspicion they broke into houses, 
and if they found a Christian they treated him upon the spot with the greatest 
cruelty, their impatience not suffering them to wait for his formal indictment. 
Every day new sacrileges were committed ; the faithful were compelled to assist 
at superstitious sacrifices, to lead victims crowned with flowers through the streets, 
to burn incense before idols. Arcadius, seeing the terrible conditions prevailing, 
withdrew to a solitary place in the country, but his flight could not be long a secret ; 
for his non-appearance at the public sacrifices made the governor send soldiers to 
his house, who, finding one o£ his relations there, seized him, and the governor 
ordered him to be kept in custody till Arcadius should be taken. 

70 


SS. TIGRIUS AND EUTROPIUS [January 12 

The martyr, informed of his friend's danger, went into the city, and presenting 
himself to the judge, said, " If on my account you detain my innocent kinsman in 
chains, release him ; I, Arcadius, am come in person to give an account of myself, 
and to declare to you that he knew not where I was." " I am willing ", answered 
the judge, " to pardon not only him, but you also, on condition that you will 
sacrifice to the gods." Arcadius refused firmly ; whereupon the judge said to the 
executioners, " Take him, and let him desire death without being able to obtain it. 
Cut of! his limbs joint by joint, but do this so slowly that the wretch may know what 
it is to abandon the gods of his ancestors for an unknown deity ". The executioners 
dragged Arcadius to the place where many other victims of Christ had already 
suffered ; and he stretched out his neck, expecting to be decapitated ; but the 
executioner bid him hold out his hand, and, joint after joint, chopped off his fingers, 
arms and shoulders. In the same barbarous manner were cut off his toes, feet, 
legs and thighs. The martyr held out his limbs one after another with invincible 
courage, repeating, " Lord, teach me thy wisdom " : for the tormentors had 
forgotten to cut out his tongue. After so many martyrdoms, his body lay a mere 
trunk. But Arcadius surveying his scattered limbs all around him, and offering 
them to God, said, " Happy members, you at last truly belong to God, being all 
made a sacrifice to Him ! " Then to the people he said, " You who have been 
present at this bloody tragedy, learn that all torments seem as nothing to one who 
has an everlasting crown before his eyes. Your gods are not gods ; renounce their 
worship. He alone for whom I suffer and die is the true God. To die for Him 
is to live." Discoursing in this manner to those about him, he died, the pagans 
being struck with astonishment at such a miracle of patience. The Christians 
gathered together his scattered limbs and laid them in one tomb. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 12, where the passio is printed, as well as a panegyric 
preached by St Zeno of Verona. In spite of the fact that* the passio is included by Ruinart 
in his Acta sincera, the document belongs rather to the category of historical romances. Cf. 
Delehaye, Origines du culte des martyrs (1933), p. 391. 

SS. TIGRIUS AND EUTROPIUS, Martyrs (a.d. 404) 

Lengthy eulogium may be found on this day in the latest edition of the Roman 
Martyrology in the following terms : " At Constantinople, of SS. Tigrius a priest 
and Eutropius a reader, who, in the time of the Emperor Arcadius, having been 
falsely accused of causing the conflagration by which the cathedral church and the 
senate-hall were burnt down, as an act of reprisal, it was said, for the banishment 
of St John Chrysostom, suffered under the city-prefect Optatus, who was addicted 
to the superstitious worship of the false gods and was a bitter enemy to the Christian 
religion." This seems to imply that both Tigrius and Eutropius were put to 
death, but though Eutropius, who is described as a youth of great personal beauty 
and irreproachable life, undoubtedly perished under the severity of the torture 
to which they were both subjected, the priest Tigrius appears to have survived. 
We read in the Dialogue usually attributed to Palladius that he was afterwards ban- 
ished to Mesopotamia. Tigrius was a eunuch and an enfranchised slave, and 
was very dear to St John Chrysostom for his gentleness and charity. The ob- 
ject of the torture, during which not only scourging and racking were employed, 
but burning torches were applied to the most sensitive parts of the bodies of 
the victims, was to elicit information which might lead to the discovery of the 


January 12] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

perpetrators of the outrage, but no compromising word was spoken by either of 
the sufferers. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 12, where the accounts of Sozomen and Nicephorus 
Callistus are quoted at length ; cf. also DCB., vol. ii, pp. 11, 402, and iv, 1027. The eulogium 
in earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology, including the editio typica published in 191 3, 
is much shorter. 

ST CAESARIA, Virgin (c. a.d. 529) 

St Caesarius, Bishop of Aries, founded about the year 512 a great nunnery for 
virgins and widows, and appointed his sister, Caesaria, as its first abbess. She 
soon had under her rule a community of 200 members, who seem to have devoted 
themselves to every kind of good work, more especially the protection and in- 
struction of the young, the relieving of the poor and the care of the sick. The 
nuns made their own clothes, and were generally employed in weaving and needle- 
work ; they were allowed to embroider and to wash and mend clothes for persons 
that lived out of the convent. The ornaments of their church were only of woollen 
or linen cloth, and plain. Some of them worked at transcribing books. They all 
studied two hours every day, and one of them read to the rest during part of the 
time they were at work. Flesh-meat was forbidden, except to the sick, and the 
rule enjoined the use of baths, but pointing out that they were for health, not for 
enjoyment : nor were they to be indulged in during Lent. Only the abbess and 
her assistant were exempt from helping in the housework ; and enclosure was 
permanent and complete. St Gregory of Tours describes the abbess herself as 
" blessed and holy ", and Venantius Fortunatus more than once refers to her in 
his verse in glowing terms. St Caesaria must have died about the year 529, 
probably on January 12. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 12, where the rule is printed which St Caesarius 
drew up for the nuns ; critical edition by G. Morin in Florilegium patristicum (1933). Cf. 
his article in Revue benedictine, vol. xliv (1932), pp. 5-20. Caesarius himself by his will left 
nearly all his property to this nunnery. 

ST VICTORIAN, Abbot (a.d. 558) 

If anyone had been disposed to doubt the historic existence of St Victorian, the 
matter was set at rest by an inscription published by Hiibner in 1900. It is certain 
that Victorian, who was apparently born in Italy and then lived for some time in 
France, became abbot of Asan in Aragon, where he ruled for many years a vigorous 
and devout community. Venantius Fortunatus, within thirty or forty years of his 
death, wrote a very laudatory epitaph eulogizing his virtues, his miracles and his 
great reputation as a teacher of monastic observance. A Latin life of him is extant, 
which probably dates from the eighth century or a little later. It is also now 
established that he died in 558. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 12 ; Venantius Fortunatus, Carmina (iv, 11), and especially 
Fita in Boletin de la real Academia de la Historia (1900), vol. xxxvii, pp. 491 seq. 

ST BENEDICT, or BENET, BISCOP, Abbot of Wearmouth and 
Jarrow (a.d. 690) 

Benedict Biscop, a man of noble birth at the court of Oswy, king of the Northum- 
brians, at the age of twenty-five bade adieu to the world, made a journey of devotion 

72 


ST BENEDICT, OR BENET, BISCOP [January 12 

to Rome, and at his return devoted himself wholly to the study of the Bible and 
other holy exercises. Some time after he travelled thither a second time, burning 
with the desire of fuller knowledge of divine things. From Rome he went to the 
great monastery of Lerins, renowned for its regular discipline ; there he took the 
monastic habit, and spent two years in exact observance of the rule. After this he 
returned to Rome, where he received an order from Pope St Vitalian to accompany 
St Theodore, the new archbishop of Canterbury, and St Adrian, to England. 
When he arrived at Canterbury, St Theodore committed to Benedict the care of 
the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul at that city. He stayed two years in Kent, 
giving himself up to study and prayer under the discipline of those two excellent 
masters. Then he took a fourth journey to Rome, with the view of perfecting 
himself in the rules and practice of a monastic life. For this purpose he made a 
considerable stay in Rome and other places, and he brought home with him a choice 
library, with relics and sacred pictures. When he returned to Northumberland, 
King Egfrid bestowed on him seventy hides of land for building a monastery : this 
the saint founded in 674 at the mouth of the river Wear, whence it was called 
Wearmouth. St Benedict went over to France, and brought back with him skilful 
masons, who built the church for this monastery of stone, and after the Roman 
fashion ; till that time stone buildings were rare in north England : even the church 
of Lindisfarne was of wood, covered with a thatch of straw and reeds, till Bishop 
Edbert had both the roof and the walls covered with sheets of lead, as Bede men- 
tions. St Benedict also brought over glaziers from France, for the art of making 
glass was then unknown here. 

His first monastery of Wearmouth was dedicated in honour of St Peter ; and 
such was the edification which it gave that the king added a second donation of 
land, on which Biscop built another monastery in 685, at Jarrow on the Tyne, six 
miles distant from the former, this latter being called St Paul's. These two 
monasteries were almost looked upon as one, and St Benedict governed them both, 
though he placed in each a superior, who continued subject to him, his long journeys 
to Rome and other absences making this substitution necessary. In the church of 
St Peter at Wearmouth he set up pictures of the Blessed Virgin, the Twelve Apostles, 
the history of the Gospel and the visions in the Revelation of St John. That of St 
Paul's at Jarrow he adorned with other pictures, disposed in such a manner as to 
represent the harmony between the Old and the New Testament, and the con- 
formity of the types in the one to the reality in the other. Thus Isaac carrying 
the wood which was to be employed in the sacrifice of himself, was explained by 
Jesus Christ carrying His cross, on which He was to finish His sacrifice ; and the 
brazen serpent was illustrated by our Saviour's crucifixion. Not content with 
these pictures, books and relics, St Benedict on his last voyage brought back with 
him from Rome the abbot of St Martin's, who was the precentor of St Peter's. 
This abbot, John by name, was expert in music, and our saint persuaded Pope 
St Agatho to send him in order that he might instruct the English monks in the 
Gregorian chant and in the Roman ceremonial for singing the divine office. These 
two monasteries thus became the best-equipped in England, and St Benedict's 
purchase of books was of special significance, for it made possible the work of the 
Venerable Bede. 

About the year 686 St Benedict was stricken with paralysis in his lower limbs. 
He lay three years crippled and suffering, and for a considerable time was entirely 
confined to his bed. During this long illness, not being able to raise his voice or 

73 


January 13] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

make much effort, at every canonical hour some of his monks came to him, and 
whilst they sang the psalms appointed, he endeavoured as well as he could to join 
not only his heart but also his voice with theirs. In his realization of the presence 
of God he seemed never to relax, and he frequently and earnestly exhorted his 
monks to observe faithfully the rule he had given them. " You must not think ", 
he said, " that the constitutions which you have received from me were of my own 
devising ; for having in my frequent journeys visited seventeen well-ordered 
monasteries, I acquainted myself with their rules, and chose the best to leave you 
as my legacy." He died on January 12, 690. According to William of Malmes- 
bury his relics were translated to Thorney Abbey in 970, but the monks of Glaston- 
bury thought themselves possessed of at least part of them. St Benet Biscop's 
feast is kept by the Benedictines of the English congregation and in the dioceses 
of Liverpool and Hexham (February 13), with a commemoration in Southwark. 

The true name of this saint was Biscop Baducing, as we learn from Eddius in his life 
of St Wilfrid. He is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on this day. Practically all 
our information about him is derived from Bede, who was entrusted to his care at the age 
of seven. Bede wrote of his venerated abbot in his Historia Abbatum, as well as in his 
Ecclesiastical History, and there is also a sermon in natale S. Benedicti {Biscop) which is 
attributed to Bede and which Dr Plummer believes to be authentically his. It is to be 
noted, however, that Bede's Historia Abbatum is founded upon an earlier Historia Abbatum 
Gyrvensium, the author of which is not known. See Plummer 's edition of the Ecclesiastical 
History, with its preface and notes ; and T. Allison in Church Quarterly Review, vol. cvii 
(1928), pp. 57-79- 


13 


THIS DAY IS NOW KEPT IN HONOUR OF THE BAPTISM 
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE RIVER JORDAN 

ST AGRECIUS, Bishop of Trier (a.d. 329 ?) 

THE story of St Agrecius (Agritius) has of late years acquired a certain 
adventitious interest owing to the discussions regarding the authenticity 
of the " Holy Coat of Trier ". According to the life of the saint, a docu- 
ment which is certainly not older than the eleventh century, and which modern 
scholars pronounce to be entirely fabulous, Agrecius was first of all patriarch of 
Antioch, and was then, at the instance of the Empress St Helen, the mother of 
Constantine, appointed bishop of Trier by Pope St Silvester. He found that that 
part of Germany, though evangelized more than two centuries before, had almost 
fallen back into paganism, and he set to work to build churches and to establish 
closer relations with the centre of Christendom. In this task he was encouraged 
by his patroness St Helen, who in particular obtained for him a share of the precious 
relics which she had been instrumental in recovering from the Holy Land. Those 
sent to Trier included one of the nails of the cross, the knife used at the Last Supper, 
the bodies of SS. Lazarus and Martha, etc., and also apparently our Lord's seam- 
less robe. The historically worthless character of the life discredits this story, 
and the ivory plaque of Byzantine origin which is appealed to as a representation 
of SS. Silvester and Agrecius in a chariot bringing the casket of relics to Trier is 
more probably to be explained as referring to another quite different translation 
of relics to Constantinople under the Emperor Leo I (457-474). St Silvester is 
also stated to have conceded to Trier in the person of Agrecius a primacy over all 
the bishops of Gaul and Germany. Setting aside these fictions, the only facts 
known to us regarding St Agrecius are that he assisted as bishop of Trier at the 
Council of Aries in 3 14, and that he was succeeded in the same see by St Maximinus. 

74 


BD GODFREY OF KAPPENBERG [January 13 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 13 ; V. Sauerland, Trierer Geschichtsquellcn des xi Jahr- 
hunderts (1889), pp. 55-212 ; S. Beissel, Geschichte der Trierer Kirchen (1887), vol. i, pp. 
71 seq. ; E. Winheller, Die Lebensbeschreibungen der vorkarol. Bischofe von Trier (1935), 
pp. 121-145 ; and DHG., vol. i, c. 1014. For the plaque, see Kraus, Geschichte der christ- 
lichen Kunst, vol. i, p. 502, and the references there given in note 4. Kraus claims G. B. 
de Rossi as supporting his interpretation of the plaque. By Kraus this ivory carving is said 
to be a work of the fifth century ; A. Maskell, Ivories, p. 419, dates it seventh to ninth century. 
Both are agreed that the work is Byzantine. 

ST BERNO, Abbot of Cluny (a.d. 927) 

Considering the immense influence exercised by Cluny in the development of the 
monasticism, and indeed of the whole religious life, of western Europe from the 
tenth to the twelfth centuries, we know strangely little of the personality of its first 
abbot. Berno seems to have been a man of good family and some wealth. He 
was himself the founder of the abbey of Gigny, in which he became abbot, having 
already been the reforming superior of Baume-les-Messieurs, and finally he was 
pitched upon by Duke William of Aquitaine to rule the monastery which he 
planned. The site chosen by St Berno was at Cluny, not far from Macon in the 
centre of France. The abbey of Cluny was immediately subject to the Holy See, 
and in the foundations subsequently made the principle of centralization became 
dominant ; but in Berno's day there was no machinery for the central control of 
the houses with whose reform he was entrusted. Berno ruled from 910 to 927, 
and perhaps the highest tribute to his personal worth was the devotion always paid 
to him by St Odo, who had joined him as a novice at Baume and who, after Berno's 
death in 927, was to succeed him at Cluny as abbot, perhaps the most famous and 
energetic of all its rulers. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 13 ; E. Sackur, Die Cluniacenser, vol. i, pp. 36 seq ; Berliere 
in Revue Benedictine, vol. ix, p. 498 ; and P. Schmitz, Histoire de Vordre de St Benoit, vol. i 
(1942), pp. 130-132- 

BD GODFREY OF KAPPENBERG (a.d. 1127) 

Godfrey, who died at the age of thirty, belongs to the category of those youthful 
saints who spent the few years of their life on earth in making preparation for 
Heaven. He was count of Kappenberg and lord of a great Westphalian estate in 
the diocese of Munster. He was married to a young wife of a family as distin- 
guished as his own. Coming, however, under the influence of St Norbert, the 
founder of the Premonstratensian canons, he determined to surrender his castle 
of Kappenberg to be converted into a monastery of that order ; and he followed 
this up by persuading his wife and brother to renounce the world like himself 
and to become religious under St Norbert's direction. His purpose encountered 
the most violent opposition from his father-in-law, who even threatened to 
take his life. Godfrey, however, persisted in making over all his possessions 
to the Premonstratensians. He built a convent near Kappenberg, where his 
wife and two of his own sisters took the veil ; he also founded hospitals and other 
charitable institutions, and himself became a canonical novice, performing 
the most menial duties and washing the feet of the patients and the pilgrims 
to whom his hospital gave shelter. Though he had received minor orders, he 
did not live long enough to reach the priesthood. On January 13, 11 27 he 
died in great joy of spirit, declaring that not for all the world would he wish his 

75 


January 13] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

life to be prolonged. His feast is kept in the Premonstratensian Order on 
January 16. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 13, where two Latin lives are printed ; also Kirkfieet' 
History of St Norbert (1916), pp. 140-151 ; Spilbeeck, Le B. Godefroid (1892) ; BHL.' 
n- 533- 

BD JUTTA OF HUY, Widow (ad. 1228) 

Jutta (Juetta) was one of the mystics who seem to have been influenced by that 
remarkable ascetic revival in the Low Countries which preceded by a few years 
the preaching of St Dominic and St Francis in southern Europe. She was born 
of a well-to-do family at Huy, near Liege, in 11 58. While still only a child she 
was forced by her father, very much against her inclination, to marry. After five 
years of wedded life, and after bearing her husband three children, she was left a 
widow at the age of eighteen. Then, after an interval, during which her good looks, 
to her great distress, attracted a number of suitors who pestered her with their 
attentions, she devoted herself for ten years to nursing in the lazar-house ; but 
even this life did not seem to her sufficiently austere, and she wished to exchange 
the role of Martha for that of Mary. She accordingly had herself walled up in a 
room close beside her lepers, and lived there as an anchoress from 1182 until her 
death, January 13, 1228. Her mystical experiences, which are set down in some 
detail in a contemporary Latin biography, are of great interest. By her prayers 
she converted her father and one of her two surviving sons, who had taken to evil 
courses ; the other had joined the Cistercians and became abbot of Orval. She 
had, as we find in the case of so many saintly mystics, an extraordinary power of 
reading the thoughts of others, and apparently a knowledge of distant events ; she 
also displayed the greatest charity in directing and helping the many souls who 
came to consult her in her anchorage. 

See the life by Hugh of Floreffe, a Premonstratensian, printed in the Acta Sanctorum 
for January 13. 

BD VERONICA OF BINASCO, Virgin (ad. 1497) 

All states of life furnish abundant means for attaining holiness, and it is only 
owing to our sloth and tepidity that we neglect to make use of them. Bd Veronica 
could boast of no worldly advantages either of birth or fortune. Her parents 
maintained their family by hard work in a village near Milan, and her father never 
sold a horse, or anything else that he dealt in, without being more careful to acquaint 
the purchaser with all that was faulty in it than to recommend its good qualities. 
His consequent poverty prevented his giving his daughter any schooling, so that 
she never even learned to read ; but his own and his wife's example and simple 
instructions filled her heart with love of God, and the holy mysteries of religion 
engrossed her entirely. She was, notwithstanding, a good worker, and so obedient, 
humble and submissive that she seemed to have no will of her own. When she 
was weeding, reaping or at any other labour in the fields she strove to work at a 
distance from her companions, to entertain herself the more freely with her heavenly 
thoughts. The rest admired her love of solitude, and on coming to her, often found 
her countenance bathed in tears, which they sometimes perceived to flow in great 
abundance, though they did not know the source to be devotion, so carefully did 
Veronica conceal what passed between her and God. 

76 


ST HILARY OF POITIERS [January 14 

Veronica conceived a great desire to become a nun in the poor and austere 
convent of St Martha, of the Order of St Augustine, in Milan. To qualify herself 
for this she sat up at night to learn to read and write. One day, being in great 
trouble about her little progress, the Mother of God bade her banish that anxiety, 
for it was enough if she knew three letters : The first, purity of the affections, by 
setting her whole heart on God ; the second, never to murmur or grow impatient 
at the sins or misbehaviour of others, but to bear them with patience, and humbly 
to pray for them ; the third, to set apart some time every day to meditate on the 
passion of Christ. After three years preparation, Veronica was admitted to the 
religious habit in St Martha's, where her life was no other than a living copy of her 
rule, which consisted in the practice of evangelical perfection reduced to certain 
holy exercises. Every moment of her life she studied to accomplish it in the 
minutest detail, and was no less exact in obeying any indication of the will of a 
superior. 

She for three years suffered from a lingering illness, but she would never be 
exempted from any part of her work, or make use of the least indulgence. Though 
she had leave, her answer always was, " I must work whilst I can, whilst I have 
time ". It was her delight to help and serve everyone ; and her silence was a sign 
of her recollection and continual prayer, of which her extraordinary gift of tears 
was the outward manifestation. Her biographer declares that after she had been 
praying long in any place the floor looked as if a jug of water had been upset there. 
When she was in ecstasy they sometimes held a dish beneath her face and the tears 
that flowed into it, so it is stated, amounted to nearly a quart ( ! !). She always 
spoke of her own sinful life, as she called it, though, indeed, it was most innocent, 
with feelings of intense compunction. Veronica was favoured by God with many 
extraordinary visions and consolations. A detailed account is preserved of the 
principal incidents of our Lord's life as they were revealed to her in her ecstasies. 
By her moving exhortations she softened and converted several obdurate sinners. 
She died at the hour which she had foretold, in the year 1497, at the age of fifty-two, 
and her sanctity was confirmed by miracles. Pope Leo X in 15 17 permitted her 
to be honoured in her monastery in the same manner as if she had been beatified 
according to the usual forms, and the name of Bd Veronica of Binasco is inserted 
on this day in the Roman Martyrology, an unusual distinction in the case of a 
servant of God who has not been formally canonized. 

See the life by Father Isidore de Isolanis, printed in the Acta Sanctorum for January 13. 
This contains a relatively full account of Bd Veronica's revelations, revelations which, as 
Father Bollandus warns his readers, must be read with caution, as they include many 
extravagant statements. Leo X's bull may be read in the same place. Cf. also P. Moiraghi, 
La B. Veronica da Binasco (1897). 


14 • ST HILARY, Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church (c. 
a.d. 368) 

ST AUGUSTINE, who often urges the authority of St Hilary against the 
Pelagians, styles him " the illustrious doctor of the churches ". St Jerome 
says that he was a " most eloquent man, and the trumpet of the Latins against 
the Arians " ; and in another place, that " in St Cyprian and St Hilary, God had 
transplanted two fair cedars out of the world into His Church ". 


77 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

St Hilary was born at Poitiers, and his family was illustrious in Gaul. He 
himself testifies that he was brought up in idolatry, and gives us a detailed account 
of the steps by which God conducted him to a knowledge of the faith. He con- 
sidered, by the light of reason, that man, a moral and free agent, is placed in this 
world for the exercise of patience, temperance, and other virtues, which he saw 
must receive a recompense after this life. He ardently set about learning what 
God is, and quickly discovered the absurdity of polytheism, or a plurality of gods : 
he was convinced that there can be only one God, and that He must be eternal, 
unchangeable, all-powerful, the first cause and author of all things. Full of these 
reflections, he met with the Christian scriptures, and was deeply impressed by that 
sublime description Moses gives of God in those words, so expressive of His 
self-existence, I am who am : and was no less struck with the idea of His supreme 
dominion, illustrated by the inspired language of the prophets. The reading of 
the New Testament completed his inquiries ; and he learned from the first chapter 
of St John that the Divine Word, God the Son, is coeternal and consubstantial 
with the Father. Being thus brought to the knowledge of the faith, he received 
baptism when somewhat advanced in years. 

Hilary had been married before his conversion, and his wife, by whom he had 
a daughter named Apra, was yet living when he was chosen bishop of Poitiers, 
about the year 350. He did all in his power to escape this promotion ; but his 
humility only made the people more earnest in their choice ; and, indeed, their 
expectations were not disappointed, for his eminent qualities shone forth so 
brilliantly as to attract the attention not only of Gaul, but of the whole Church. 
Soon after he was raised to the episcopal dignity he composed, before his exile, a 
commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew, which is still extant. That on the 
psalms he compiled after his banishment. From that time the Arian controversy 
chiefly employed his pen. He was an orator and poet. His style is lofty and noble, 
with much rhetorical ornament, somewhat studied ; and the length of his periods 
renders him sometimes obscure : St Jerome complains of his long and involved 
sentences and tragic manner — the old rhetorical tradition was not yet dead. St 
Hilary solemnly appeals to God that he accounted it the great work of his life to 
employ all his faculties to announce Him to the world, and to excite all men to the 
love of Him. He earnestly recommends beginning every action and discourse by 
prayer. He breathes a sincere and ardent desire of martyrdom, and discovers a 
soul fearless of death. He had the greatest veneration for truth, sparing no pains 
in its pursuit and dreading no dangers in its defence. 

The Emperor Constantius and a synod at Milan in 355 required all bishops to 
sign the condemnation of St Athanasius. Such as refused to comply were banished, 
among whom were St Eusebius of Vercelli, Lucifer of Cagliari and St Dionysius of 
Milan. St Hilary wrote on that occasion his " First Book to Constantius ", in 
which he entreated him to restore peace to the Church. He separated himself 
from the three Arian bishops in the West, Ursacius, Valens and Saturninus, and 
the emperor sent an order to Julian, surnamed afterwards the Apostate, who at that 
time commanded in Gaul, to enforce St Hilary's immediate banishment into 
Phrygia. St Hilary went into exile about the middle of the year 356, as cheerfully 
as another would take a pleasure trip, and recked nothing of hardships, dangers or 
enemies, having a soul above the smiles and frowns of the world and his thoughts 
fixed only on God. He remained in exile for some three years, which time he 
employed in composing several learned works. The principal and most esteemed 

78 


ST HILARY OF POITIERS [January 14 

of these is that On the Trinity. The earliest Latin hymn -writing is associated 
with the name of Hilary of Poitiers. 

The emperor, again interfering in the affairs of the Church, assembled a council 
of Arians, at Seleucia in Isauria, to neutralize the decrees of the Council of Nicaea. 
St Hilary, who had then passed three years in Phrygia, was invited thither by the 
semi-Arians, who hoped that he would be useful to their party in crushing those 
who adhered strictly to the doctrine of Arius. But no human considerations could 
daunt his courage. He boldly defended the decrees of Nicaea, till at last, tired out 
with controversy, he withdrew to Constantinople and presented to the emperor a 
request, called his " Second Book to Constantius ", begging permission to hold a 
public disputation about religion with Saturninus, the author of his banishment. 
The issue of this challenge was that the Arians, dreading such a trial, persuaded the 
emperor to rid the East of a man who never ceased to disturb its peace. Constan- 
tius accordingly sent him back into Gaul in 360. 

St Hilary returned through Illyricum and Italy to confirm the weak. He was 
received at Poitiers with great demonstrations of joy, and there his old disciple, 
St Martin, ere long rejoined him. A synod in Gaul, convoked at the instance of 
Hilary, condemned that of Rimini in 359 ; and Saturninus, proving obstinate, was 
excommunicated and desposed. Scandals were removed, discipline, peace and 
purity of faith were restored. The death of Constantius in 361 put an end to the 
Arian persecution. St Hilary was by nature the gentlest of men, full of courtesy 
and friendliness to all : yet seeing this behaviour ineffectual, he composed an 
invective against Constantius in which he employed the severest language, probably 
for good reasons not now known to us. This piece was not circulated till after the 
death of the emperor. Hilary undertook a journey to Milan in 364 to confute 
Auxentius, the Arian usurper of that see, and in a public disputation obliged him 
to confess Christ to be the true God, of the same substance and divinity with the 
Father. St Hilary, indeed, saw through his hypocrisy ; but Auxentius so far 
imposed on the Emperor Valentinian as to pass for orthodox. Hilary died at 
Poitiers, probably in the year 368, but neither the year nor the day of the month 
can be determined with certainty. The Roman Martyrology names his feast on 
January 14. St Hilary was proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX 
in 1851. 

A great deal has been written about St Hilary in recent years, but nothing has come to 
light which would gainsay the substantial accuracy of Alban Butler's account, given above 
in a shortened form. The most important discovery, now generally accepted, is that of 
A. Wilmart {Revue Benedictine, vol. xxiv (1908), pp. 159 seq. and 293 seq.). He shows that 
the text printed in " The First Book to Constantius " is miscalled and incomplete. It 
consists in reality, partly of a section of the letter addressed to the emperors by the Council 
of Sardica, partly of extracts from Hilary's work written in 356, just before his exile, under 
the title of " A First Book against Valens and Ursacius " (the Arian bishops). It also seems 
clear that a work of Hilary's, Liber or Tractatus Mysteriorum, supposed to be lost, has not 
completely perished. A large part of it was found, along with some poems or hymns of the 
saint, in a manuscript at Arezzo in 1887. This Tractatus has nothing to do with the liturgy, 
as was previously conjectured, but is identical with a supposed Liber Officiorum otherwise 
attributed to him (see Wilmart in Revue Benedictine, vol. xxvii (1910), pp. 12 seq.). A full 
statement and bibliography of these new developments will be found in Fr Le Bachelet's 
article on St Hilary in DTC, vol. vi, cc. 2388 seq. Other valuable contributions to the 
subject have been made by A. Feder in the Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Academy, Phil.- 
Histor. Kl., clxii, no. 4, and in the texts he edited for the Corpus Scrip. Eccles. Lat. So 
far as regards the life of St Hilary we have a biography and collection of miracles by Venantius 
Fortunatus printed in the Acta Sanctorum for January 13 (cf. BHL., nn. 580-582) ; see also 

79 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

E. Watson, The Life and Writings of St Hilary of Poitiers (1899). As regards the hymns 
the reader may be conveniently referred to the supplement to Julian's Dictiotiary of Hymno- 
logy, to Walpole, Early Latin Hymns (1922), and especially to Feder in the fourth volume 
which he contributed to the Vienna Corpus. In England a judicial sitting and a university 
term are named from Hilary's feast-day, which also figures in the calendar of the Book of 
Common Prayer. 

ST FELIX OF NOLA {c. ad. 260) 

It must be remembered that St Paulinus of Nola, who is our ultimate authority 
for the life of St Felix, lived more than a century after his time, and that it is 
probable that legendary accretions had already attached themselves to the tradition 
handed down. The story told by St Paulinus runs as follows : 

St Felix was a native of Nola, a Roman colony in Campania, fourteen miles 
from Naples, where his father Hermias, who was by birth a Syrian and had served 
in the army, had purchased an estate and settled down. He had two sons, Felix 
and Hermias, to whom at his death he left his patrimony. The younger sought 
preferment in the world by following the profession of arms. Felix, to become 
in effect what his name in Latin imported, that is " happy ", resolved to follow 
no other standard than that of the King of kings, Jesus Christ. For this purpose 
he distributed most of his possessions among the poor, and was ordained priest 
by St Maximus, Bishop of Nola, who, charmed with his virtue and prudence, made 
him his right hand in those times of trouble, and looked upon him as his destined 
successor. 

In the year 250 the Emperor Decius began a cruel persecution against the 
Church. Maximus, seeing himself marked out as a victim, retired into the desert, 
not through the fear of death but rather to preserve himself for the service of his 
flock. The persecutors, not finding him, seized on Felix, who in his absence was 
very zealous in the discharge of pastoral duties. The governor caused him to be 
scourged, then loaded with chains and cast into a dungeon, in which, as Prudentius 
informs us, the floor was spread all over with potsherds and pieces of broken glass, 
so that there was no place free from them on which the saint could either stand or 
lie. One night an angel appearing filled the prison with a bright light, and bade 
St Felix go to the aid of his bishop, who was in great distress. The confessor, 
seeing his chains fall off and the doors open, followed his guide, and was conducted 
to the place where Maximus lay in hunger and cold, speechless and unconscious : 
for, through anxiety for his flock and the hardships of his solitary retreat, he had 
suffered more than a martyrdom. Felix, not being able to bring him to himself, 
had recourse to prayer ; and discovering thereupon a bunch of grapes within reach, 
he squeezed some of the juice into his mouth, which had the desired effect. The 
good bishop, as soon as he beheld his friend Felix, begged to be conveyed back to 
his church. The saint, taking him on his shoulders, carried him to his home in 
the city before day appeared, where a devoted old woman took care of him. 

Felix kept himself concealed, praying for the Church without ceasing, till the 
death of Decius in the year 251. He no sooner appeared again in public than his 
zeal so exasperated the pagans that they came to apprehend him ; but though they 
met him, they did not recognize him. They even asked him where Felix was, a 
question to which he returned an evasive answer. The persecutors, going a little 
further, perceived their mistake, and returned ; but Felix in the meantime had 
stepped a little out of the way, and crept through a hole in a ruinous wall, which 

80 


ST FELIX OF NOLA [January 14 

was instantly closed up by spiders' webs. His enemies, never imagining anything 
could have lately passed where they saw so dense a web, after a fruitless search 
elsewhere returned without their prey. Felix, finding among the ruins, between 
two houses, an old well half dry, hid himself there for six months, and obtained 
during that time wherewithal to subsist by means of a devout Christian woman. 
Peace being restored to the Church, he quitted his retreat, and was received in the 
city with joy. 

St Maximus died soon after, and all were unanimous in electing Felix bishop ; 
but he persuaded the people to make choice of Quintus, his senior in the priesthood. 
The remainder of the saint's estate having been confiscated in the persecution, he 
was advised to press his legal claim, as others had done, who thereby recovered 
what had been taken from them. His answer was that in poverty he should be the 
more secure of possessing Christ. He could not even be prevailed upon to accept 
what the rich offered him. He rented a little spot of land, not exceeding three 
acres, which he tilled with his own hands to supply his own needs and to have 
something left for alms. Whatever was bestowed on him he gave immediately to 
the poor. If he had two coats he was sure to give them the better, and often 
exchanged his only one for the rags of some beggar. He died in a good old age, 
on January 14, on which day he is commemorated in the martyrologies. 

More than a century had elapsed after the death of Felix when Paulinus, a 
distinguished Roman senator, settled in Nola and was elected bishop there. He 
testifies that crowds of pilgrims came from Rome and more distant places to visit 
the shrine of the saint on his festival. He adds that all brought some present or 
other to his church, such as candles to burn at his tomb and the like ; but that for 
his own part he offered him the homage of his tongue and himself, though an 
unworthy gift. He expresses his devotion in the warmest terms, and believes that 
all the graces he received from Heaven were conferred on him through the inter- 
cession of St Felix. He describes at large the pictures of the whole history of the 
Old Testament in the church of St Felix, which were as so many books that 
instructed the ignorant. The holy bishop's enthusiasm is reflected in his verses. 
He relates a number of miracles which were wrought at the tomb, as of persons 
cured of diseases and delivered from dangers by the saint's intercession, in several 
of which cases he was an eye-witness. He testifies that he himself by having 
recourse to Felix had been speedily succoured. St Augustine also has given an 
account of miracles performed at the shrine. It was not formerly allowed to bury 
any corpse within the walls of cities, and as the church of St Felix stood outside 
the walls of Nola many Christians sought to be buried in it, that their faith and 
devotion might recommend them after death to the patronage of this holy confessor. 
On this matter St Paulinus consulted St Augustine, who answered him by his book 
On the Care for the Dead, in which he shows that the faith and devotion of such 
persons would serve them well after death, as the suffrages and good works of the 
living in behalf of the faithful departed are profitable to the latter. 

As already stated, the poems of St Paulinus constitute our main authority for the life of 
St Felix. Of these poems Bede wrote a summary in prose, which is printed, with other 
documents, in the Acta Sanctorum for January 14. In the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xvi 
(1897), pp. 22 seq. } may be found a curious illustration of the confusion introduced by the 
martyrologist Ado, and other hagiographers, through their invention of a " St Felix in 
Pincis ". This confusion was probably due to the existence of a church on the Pincio at 
Rome dedicated to St Felix of Nola. Pope St Damasus pays a tribute in verse to Felix for 
a cure he himself had received. Cf. Quentin, Les Martyrologes historiques, pp. 518-522 

81 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST MACRINA THE ELDER, Widow (c. ad. 340) 

In more than one of his letters St Basil the Great refers to his father's mother, 
Macrina, by whom he was apparently brought up, and to whose care in giving him 
sound religious instruction he attributes the fact that he never imbibed any hetero- 
dox opinions which he had afterwards to modify. During the persecution of 
Galerius and Maximinus, Macrina and her husband had much to suffer. They 
were forced to quit their home and to hide themselves from the persecutors among 
the hill forests of Pontus for seven years. They often suffered hunger, and St 
Gregory Nazianzen declares that at times they had to depend for their food upon 
the wild creatures which, as he believed, by some miraculous interposition of 
Providence suffered themselves to be caught and killed. Even after this danger 
had passed, another persecution broke out in which their goods were confiscated, 
and it would seem that they were honoured by a formal recognition of their 
title to be reckoned among the confessors of the faith. Macrina survived her 
husband, but the exact date of her death is not recorded. In the Roman 
Marty ro logy St Macrina is described as a disciple of St Gregory Thaumaturgus, 
but this can hardly mean more than that she was an earnest student of his 
writings. 

See Acta Sanctorum for January 14 and DCB., vol. iii, p. 779. 

SS. BARBASYMAS and his Companions, Martyrs (a.d. 346) 

St Barbasymas (Barbashemin) succeeded his brother St Sadoth in the metro- 
political see of Seleucia and Ctesiphon in 342. Being accused as an enemy to the 
Persian religion, he was apprehended with sixteen of his clergy by order of King 
Sapor II. The king, seeing that his threats made no impression, confined him in 
a loathsome dungeon, in which he was often tortured with scourgings and other 
atrocities, besides the continual discomfort of stench, filth, hunger and thirst. 
After eleven months the prisoners were again brought before the king. Their 
bodies were disfigured and their faces hardly recognizable. Sapor held out to the 
bishop a golden cup in which were a thousand gold coins, and besides this he 
promised him a governorship if he would suffer himself to be initiated in the rites 
of the sun. The saint replied that he could not answer the reproaches of Christ 
at the last day if he should prefer gold, or a whole empire, to His holy law ; and 
that he was ready to die. He received his crown by the sword, with his companions, 
on January 14, 346 at Ledan in Huzistan. 

St Maruthas, Bishop of Maiferkat, supposed to be the author of his acts, adds 
that Sapor, resolving to extinguish the Christian name in his empire, published 
a new edict, whereby he commanded everyone to be tortured and put to death 
who should refuse to worship the sun, fire and water, and to feed on the blood 
of living creatures. The see of Seleucia remained vacant twenty years, and 
innumerable martyrs watered Persia with their blood. St Maruthas was not 
able to recover their names, but has left us a lengthy panegyric of their heroic 
deeds, very devotional in tone, in which he prays to be speedily united with them 
in glory. 

See Assemani, Acta martyrum orientalium, vol. i, pp. 111-116 ; but the Syriac text has 
been more correctly edited by Bedjan, Acta martyrum et sanctorum, vol. ii, pp. 296-303 ; 
Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., bk ii, c. 13 ; BHO., n. 33. 

82 


ST KENTIGERN, OR MUNGO [January 14 

THE MARTYRS OF MOUNT SINAI (Fourth Century) 

Thirty-eight solitaries on Mount Sinai were put to death by a troop of Arabians, 
and many other hermits in the desert of Raithu, two days' journey from Sinai, near 
the Red Sea, were similarly massacred by the Blemmyes. Also many anchorets 
on Mount Sinai were martyred by a band of desert marauders at the close of the 
fourth century. A boy of fourteen years of age led among them an ascetic life of 
great perfection. The raiders threatened to kill him if he did not discover where 
the older monks had concealed themselves. He answered that death did not terrify 
him, and that he could not ransom his life by a sin in betraying his fathers. The 
barbarians, enraged at this answer, fell on him with all their weapons at once, and 
the youth died by as many martyrdoms as he had executioners. St Nilus {cf. 
November 12) left an account of this massacre : at that time he led an eremitical 
life in that wilderness. 

These holy solitaries are commemorated together on this day in the Eastern church, 
and are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. See Martynov, Annus ecclesiasticus graeco- 
slavicus, pp. 41 seq. ; Nilles, Kalendarium Manuale (1 896-1 897), vol. i. The narratives of 
St Nilus are in Migne, PC, vol. lxxix, pp. 590-694. On the authorship of these narratives 
see Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxxviii (1920), pp. 420 seq. ; and cf. Delehaye, Synax. Const., 
PP. 389-391. 

ST DATIUS, Bishop of Milan (a.d. 552) 

The life of St Datius was spent in stormy times. During the greater part of his 
episcopate — which lasted at least from 530 to 552 — he was engaged in strife, 
sometimes in defence of temporal, more often in championing spiritual, interests. 
To save his city of Milan from the Goths he had allied himself with Belisarius. 
Unfortunately he was disappointed in his hopes. Before help could come from 
Belisarius, Milan was invested and eventually sacked. It is possible that Datius 
himself was taken prisoner, and afterwards liberated through the influence of his 
friend Cassiodorus. Driven from Milan the bishop betook himself to Constan- 
tinople, where, in 545, he boldly supported Pope Vigilius against Justinian in the 
controversy concerning the " Three Chapters ". He seems to have died in 552, 
while still at Constantinople, whence his remains were at a later date translated to 
his episcopal city of Milan. St Gregory the Great in his Dialogues recounts a 
curious story of a haunted house from which the devil used to frighten all intending 
occupants, by producing the most alarming and discordant howlings of beasts. 
St Datius, however, showed no fear, but put the aggressor to shame and restored 
perfect quiet. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 14 ; DCB., vol. i, p. 789 ; and L. Duchesne, 
Ultglise au Vie siecle> pp. 197-199. 

ST KENTIGERN, or MUNGO, Bishop in Strathclyde (a.d. 
603) 

If we may trust our sources, St Kentigern's mother, Thaney (Thenew, Tenoi ; 
cf. " St Enoch's " station at Glasgow) was of royal birth and, being discovered to 
be with child, of which the father was unknown, was sentenced to be hurled from 
the top of a precipitous hill (Traprain Law in Haddingtonshire). She escaped, 
however, without injury, and was then put into a coracle and cast adrift at the 

83 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

mouth of the Firth of Forth. The tide eventually carried her to Culross, on the 
opposite shore of the estuary, where she brought forth her child, and where St Serf 
took both mother and babe under his protection. The boy became very dear to 
him, and was given the pet name Mungo (= darling). When he had grown up, 
Kentigern felt himself drawn to a life of solitude and self-denial, and he accordingly 
retired to a place called " Glasghu ", now Glasgow. There after a while a com- 
munity gathered round him, and the fame of his virtues spread, so that in the end 
the clergy and people of that district would have no other for their bishop ; and 
he was consecrated by a bishop from Ireland. St Kentigern travelled everywhere 
on foot, preaching the gospel to his people ; he practised the severest austerities, 
and recited the whole psalter every day, often standing immersed the while in 
the water of some ice-cold stream. During Lent he always withdrew from the 
company of his fellow-men, and in some desert spot gave himself up entirely to 
penance and prayer. This apostolic way of life was blessed, we are told, by 
many miracles. 

The political conditions of this great tract of country, which was later known as 
Strathclyde and stretched southwards as far as the Ribble, were terribly unstable. 
The chieftains were constantly engaged in feuds among themselves, and although 
they recognized some sort of " king ", or supreme authority, plots and cabals were 
constantly being formed against him. The sequence of events, with such slender 
and contradictory data as we possess, is impossible to determine, but it is said that 
Kentigern was eventually driven into exile or flight. He made his way into Wales, 
where he is said to have stayed for a time with St David at Menevia, till Cadwallon, 
a chieftain in Denbighshire, bestowed on him the land near the meeting of the 
rivers Elwy and Clwyd, on which he built a monastery, called from the former of 
the two rivers Llanelwy, where a number of disciples and scholars put themselves 
under his direction, among them St Asaph. It is to be noted, however, that some 
Welsh historians deny that Kentigern founded this abbey, now represented by the 
cathedral church of Saint Asaph, or even that he was ever there ; and, indeed, 
while Asaph's name is common in the toponymy of the district, that of Kentigern 
is unknown. 

Later he returned to the north, and when he again reached Strathclyde 
Kentigern for a while settled at Hoddam in Dumfriesshire, but before long took 
up his abode at Glasgow as before. His austerity of life and zeal for the spread 
of the Gospel continued unabated, and his biographer tells us that on one occasion 
a meeting took place between him and that other great apostle of Scotland, St 
Columba, with whom he exchanged croziers. Many extravagant miracles are 
recounted of Kentigern, one of which is especially famous, as the memory of it is 
perpetuated by the ring and the fish seen in the arms of the city of Glasgow. 
King Rydderch found a ring, which he had given to his queen as a love-token, 
upon the finger of a sleeping knight whom she favoured. He removed it without 
awakening the sleeper, threw it into the sea, and then asked his wife to produce the 
ring he had given her. In her distress she applied to St Kentigern, and he sent 
a monk out to fish, who caught a salmon which had swallowed the ring. A curious 
description of the death of the saint in the act of taking a hot bath on the octave of 
the Epiphany, " on which day he had been accustomed to baptize a multitude of 
people ", seems certainly to point to some more primitive source which the 
biographer had before him. The date of his death seems to have been 603, when 
Kentigern will have been eighty-five — not, as his biographer states, 185 — years old. 

84 


BD ODO OF NO VARA [January 14 

His feast is kept throughout Scotland as the first bishop of Glasgow, and also in 
the dioceses of Liverpool, Salford, Lancaster and Menevia. 

See A. P. Forbes, Lives of St Ninian and St Kentigern (1874), who prints the text of 
Joscelyn of Furness and of the incomplete anonymous life ; also his Kalendars of Scottish 
Saints (1872), pp. 362 seq. ; Skene, Celtic Scotland, vol. ii, pp. 179 seq. Cf. also the Acta 
Sanctorum, January 13 ; and A. W. Wade-Evans, Life of Saint David (1923), pp. 109 seq. 
Forbes's KSS. is the most useful reference for the little that is known of the lesser Scottish 
saints in whose honour Catholic churches are still dedicated, e.g. Cumin (at Morar), Quivox 
(Prestwick), Triduana (Edinburgh), Machan (Lennoxtown). But see also M. Barrett, A 
Calendar of Scottish Saints (1904). D. D. C. Pochin Mould's Scotland of the Saints (1952) 
is useful for Scottish saints in general. 

BD ODO OF NOVARA (ad. 1200) 

Bd Odo, a Carthusian monk of the twelfth century, stands out from among some 
of his saintly contemporaries by the fact that we have good first-hand evidence 
concerning his manner of life. Pope Gregory IX ordered an inquiry to be made 
with a view to his canonization, and the depositions of the witnesses are still 
preserved. One or two extracts will serve to sketch his portrait better than a 
narrative. " Master Richard, Bishop of Trivento, having been adjured in the 
name of the Holy Ghost, the holy Gospels lying open before him, affirmed that he 
had seen the blessed Odo and knew him to be a God-fearing man, modest and 
chaste, given up night and day to watching and prayer, clad only in rough garments 
of wool, living in a tiny cell, which he hardly ever quitted except to pray in the 
church, obeying always the sound of the bell when it called him to office. Without 
ceasing, he poured forth his soul in sighs and tears ; there was no one he came 
across to whom he did not give new courage in the service of God ; he constantly 
read the divine Scriptures, and in spite of his advanced age, as long as he stayed in 
his cell, he laboured with his hands as best he could that he might not fall a prey 
to idleness." The bishop then goes on to give a brief sketch of Odo's life, noting 
that after he became a Carthusian he had been appointed prior in the recently 
founded monastery of Geyrach in Slavonia, but had there been so cruelly persecuted 
by the bishop of the diocese, Dietrich, that, being forced to leave his community, 
he had travelled to Rome to obtain the pope's permission to resign his office. 
He had then been given hospitality by the aged abbess of a nunnery at 
Tagliacozzo, who, struck by his holiness, got leave to retain him as chaplain to the 
community. Numerous other witnesses, who had been the spectators of Odo's 
edifying life, spoke of his austerities, his charity and his humble self-effacement. 

One of these, the Archpriest Oderisius, deposes that he was present when Odo 
breathed his last, and that "as he lay upon the ground in his hair-shirt in the 
aforesaid little cell, he began to say, when at the point of death, * Wait for me, Lord, 
wait for me, I am coming to thee ' ; and when they asked him to whom he was 
speaking, he answered, * It is my King, whom now I see, I am standing in His 
presence.' And when the blessed Odo spoke these words, just as if someone were 
offering him his hand, he stood straight up from the ground, and so, with his hands 
stretched out heavenwards, he passed away to our Lord." This happened on 
January 14 in the year 1200, when Odo was believed to be nearly a hundred years 
old. He worked many miracles both during life and after death, but it horrified 
him to think that people should attribute to him any supernatural power. 
" Brother ", he said to one who asked his aid, " why dost thou make game of me 

85 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

a wretched sinner, a bag of putrid flesh ? Leave me in peace ; it is for Christ, the 
Son of the living God, to heal thee " ; and as he said this he burst into tears. But 
the man went away permanently cured of an infirmity which, as the witness who 
recounts this attests from personal knowledge, had tortured him for many years. 
The cultus of Bd Odo was confirmed in 1859. 

See Le Couteulx, Annates Ordinis Cartvsiensis (1888), vol. iii, pp. 263-271. In vol. iv, 
pp. 59-72, the editor prints a selection of the depositions of the witnesses to the miracles 
which were wrought at the tomb of Bd Odo. As the evidence was all given within a year 
of the occurrences related, it forms one of the best collections of medieval miracles preserved 
to us. The documents have been edited entire in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. i (1882), 
pp. 323-354. Cf. also Le Vasseur, Ephemerides, vol. i, pp. 60-68. 

ST SAVA, Archbishop of the Serbs (a.d. 1237) 

The public ecclesiastical life and politics of St Sava {i.e. Sabas) were to a great 
extent conditioned by political considerations, a circumstance common to many 
churchmen in history, and nowhere more acute than in the Balkans, at the junction 
of great civil and ecclesiastical powers and the meeting-place of diverse cultures. 

Sava, born in 1174, was the youngest of the three sons of Stephen I, founder 
of the dynasty of the Nemanydes and of the independent Serbian state. At the 
age of seventeen he became a monk on the Greek peninsula of Mount Athos, where 
he was joined by his father when that prince abdicated in 1196. Together they 
established a monastery for Serbian monks, with the name of Khilandari, which 
is still in existence as one of the seventeen " ruling monasteries " of the Holy 
Mountain. As abbot, Sava was noted for his light and effective touch in training 
young monks ; it was remarked, too, that his influence was always on the side of 
gentleness and leniency. He began the work of translating books into the Serbian 
language, and there are still treasured at Khilandari a psalter and ritual written out 
by himself, and signed, " I, the unworthy lazy monk Sava ". 

In the meanwhile his brothers, Stephen II and Vulkan, had fallen out over 
their inheritance, and in 1207 St Sava returned home. Religiously as well as 
civilly he found his country in a bad way. The Serbs had been Christians for 
some time, but much of it was a nominal Christianity, quite uninstructed and mixed 
up with heathenism. The clergy were few and mostly uneducated, for the church 
had been ruled from Constantinople or Okhrida in Bulgaria, whose hierarchs had 
shown little care or sympathy for thos^ whom they regarded as barbarians. So 
St Sava, following the example of the Benedictines in the West and the earlier 
Russian monks, utilized the monks who had accompanied him from Khilandari 
for pastoral and missionary work. He established himself at the monastery of 
Studenitsa, from whence he founded a number of small monasteries in places 
convenient for travelling around and getting to the people. But this did not mean 
that the former Athonite had changed his mind about the necessity of solitude and 
contemplation : there may still be seen in the Studenitsa valley, high and away 
above the monastery, the rocky hermitage to which St Sava himself used to retire. 

What happened, and the order of what happened, subsequently is more difficult 
to assess, but the following represents a recent reading of the rather contradictory 
evidence. It remained desirable (and politically advantageous also) that the Serbs 
should have their own bishops. So Stephen II sent his brother to Nicaea, where 
the Eastern emperor and patriarch had taken refuge from the Frankish intruders 
at Constantinople. Sava won over the emperor, Theodore II Laskaris (who was 

86 


ST SAVA [January 14 

related to the Nemanya family), and he designated Sava as the first metropolitan of 
the new hierarchy. The patriarch, Manuel I, was unwilling, but in the circum- 
stances dared not oppose obstinately, and himself ordained Sava bishop, in 1219. 
Sava returned by way of Mount Athos, bringing with him more monks and many 
books that had been translated at Khilandari, and straightway set about the organ- 
ization of his church. It seems that already Stephen II, " the First-Crowned ", 
had asked to be recognized as king by Pope Honorius III and had been duly 
crowned by a papal legate in 12 17. But in 1222 he was again crowned, by his 
brother as archbishop, and one source asserts that it was on this occasion that 
Honorius sent a crown, in response to a request from Sava, who had informed the 
Holy See of his own episcopal ordination. 

Thus the retiring young prince, who had left home as a youth to be a monk, 
succeeded before he was fifty years of age in consolidating the state founded by his 
father by reforming the religious life of the people, giving them bishops of their 
own race, and sealing the sovereign dignity of his brother. St Sava is regarded as 
the patron-saint of Serbia and, with him as with others, the people's gratitude 
attributes benefits for which he was very doubtfully responsible : in this case, how 
to turn a plow across the head-land instead of dragging it back to the starting point, 
and how to make windows instead of admitting air and light by the door (cf. the 
men of the Sussex coast who said that St Wilfrid taught them how to catch fish). 

The later years of St Sava's life were marked externally by two voyages to 
Palestine and the Near East ; the first seems to have been a pilgrimage of devotion, 
the second an ecclesiastical mission. On his way back from this last he was taken 
ill at Tirnovo in Bulgaria and there he died, with a smile on his face, on January 14, 
1237. ^ n tne following year his body was translated to the monastery of Milochevo 
in Serbia, where it rested until 1594 when, during civil disturbances, the relics were 
deliberately burned by a Turkish pasha who was an Italian renegade. 

The Orthodox of Serbia look on St Sava not only as the founder of their national 
church but also as the conscious father of their separation from Rome. And 
indeed it would seem this might be so — if events are looked at from the position in 
later times. But the position in those days was quite different. Behind the 
ecclesiastical authorities of Rome and Nicaea-Byzantium and Okhrida were corre- 
sponding civil powers, all of them a threat to the nascent Serbian state. Among 
these King Stephen II and his archbishop had to move warily ; and in any case 
schism between Rome and the Byzantine East was hardly definitive ; Southern 
Slavs, and for that matter many " Franks ", did not yet know any hard-and-fast 
division into Catholic and Orthodox. In fact, St Sava Prosvtitely, " the Enlight- 
ener ", figures in several Latin calendars and his feast is also kept in the Catholic 
Byzantine diocese of Krizevtsy in Croatia. 

A life of St Sava was written by his disciple Domitian about 1250, but it has not survived 
in its original form : it was edited during the fourteenth century, with " an obvious tenden- 
ciousness in a certain ecclesiastical direction " (i.e. in favour of the Orthodox) says Shafarik, 
who cannot be suspected of partiality for the Catholic Church. Other sources are the letters 
of Stephen II and the history of Salona by the contemporary Latin archdeacon of Spalato, 
Thomas. See Acta Sanctorum, January 14 ; J. Martynov, Trifolium Serbicum ; J. Matl, 
" Der hi. Sava als Begrunder der serbischen Nationalkirche ", in Kyrios, vol. ii (1937), 
pp. 23-37 *> V. Yanich and C. P. Hankey in Lives of the Serbian Saints ; and a useful con- 
ference on Sava given in Belgrade by P. B£lard, printed in U Unite de I'figlise, no. 78 (1936). 
A seventeenth-century Latin bishop in Bosnia, I. T. Mrnavich, wrote a biography of St Sava, 
and the Franciscan poet Andrew Kachich devoted one of his best poems to him. 

87 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

BD ROGER OF TODI (ad. 1237) 

Not much is recorded concerning Bd Roger (Ruggiero) da Todi, and in the little 
which is told us there seems to be a certain amount of confusion. What can be 
affirmed with confidence is that he received the habit of the Friars Minor from the 
hands of the Seraphic Father himself in 12 16, that he was appointed by St Francis 
to act as spiritual director to the community founded and governed by Bd Philippa 
Mareri at Rieti in Umbria under the rule of St Clare, that he assisted Philippa on 
her deathbed in 1236, and that he died himself at Todi shortly afterwards on 
January 5, 1237. Pope Gregory IX, who had known him personally, permitted 
the town of Todi, where his remains were enshrined, to keep a feast in his honour, 
and Benedict XIV confirmed the cultus for the whole Franciscan Order. 

See Mazzara, Leggendario Francescano (1676), vol. i, pp. 29-31 ; L£on, Aureole Seraphique 
(English trans.), vol. i, pp. 442-443. 

BD ODORIG OF PORDENONE (ad. 133 i) 

It would not be easy to find in secular literature a more adventurous career than 
that of the Franciscan Friar Odoric of Pordenone. He was a native of Friuli, and 
his family name is said to have been Mattiussi. About the year 1300, when he was 
fifteen, he received the habit of St Francis at Udine, and his later biographers 
expatiate upon the extreme fervour with which he gave himself to prayer, poverty 
and penance. After a while he felt called to serve God in solitude, and he obtained 
the permission to lead the life of a hermit in a remote cell. We are not told how 
long he spent in this close communion with God, but he seems to have been guided 
to return to Udine and to take up apostolic work in the surrounding districts. 
Great success followed his preaching, and crowds gathered from afar to hear him. 
But about 13 17, when he was a little over thirty, there came to him an inspiration 
of a somewhat different kind, and it is difficult from the documents before us to 
decide how far he was influenced in his subsequent career by a simple spirit of 
adventure and how far by the burning desire of the missionary to extend God's 
kingdom and to save souls. We shall probably not be wrong in assuming that 
there was a mixture of both. 

It is not easy to give precise dates, but according to Yule and Cordier he was 
in western India soon after 1321, he must have spent three of the years between 
1322 and 1328 in northern China, and he certainly died at home among his brethren 
at Udine in January 1331. With regard to the route he followed in his wanderings 
we are better informed. His first objective was Constantinople, and from thence 
he passed on to Trebizond, Erzerum, Tabriz and Soltania. There were houses of 
the order in most of these cities, and he probably made a considerable stay in each, 
so that this part of his journey may well have occupied three years. From Soltania 
he seems to have wandered about very irregularly, but eventually he came south 
through Baghdad to Hormuz at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, where he took 
ship and sailed to Salsette. At Tana, or possibly Surat, he gathered up the bones 
of his four brethren who had been martyred there shortly before, in 1321, and 
carried them with him on his voyage eastward. He went on to Malabar and 
Ceylon, and then probably rested for a while at the shrine of St Thomas at Mailapur, 
by the modern Madras. Here he again took ship for Sumatra and Java, possibly 
also visiting southern and eastern Borneo. China was his next goal. Starting 

88 


BD GILES OF LORENZANA [January 14 

from Canton, he travelled to the great ports of Fo-kien, and from Fu-chau he pro- 
ceeded across the mountains to Hang-chau, then famous under the name of 
Quinsai as the greatest city of the world, and Nan-king. Taking to the water 
again upon the great canal at Yang-chau, he made his way to Khanbaliq, or Peking, 
and there remained for three years, attached apparently to one of the churches 
founded by Archbishop John of Montecorvino, another heroic Franciscan mission- 
ary, now in extreme old age. There Odoric turned his face homewards, passing 
through Shen-si to Tibet and its capital, Lhasa, but we have no further record of 
the course by which he ultimately reached his native province in safety. It is 
interesting to note that during the latter part at least of these long journeys Odoric 
had for his companion an Irish friar of the same order, one Brother James. The 
fact is known to us from a record preserved in the archives of Udine, which tells 
us that after Odoric's death a present of two marks was made " for the love of God 
and the blessed Brother Odoric " to Brother James, the Irishman, who had been 
his companion on his journey. 

The account which has been left us of Odoric's travels, which unfortunately 
was not written down by himself at the time but dictated to one of his brethren 
after his return, says practically nothing of any missionary labours on his part. It 
is, therefore, not certain how far we may credit the wonderful stories which were 
current in later times regarding the success which attended his preaching. Luke 
Wadding, the annalist, declares that he converted and baptized 20,000 Saracens, 
but he gives us no idea of the source of his information. It is also stated that 
Odoric's purpose in leaving China and returning to Europe was to obtain fresh 
supplies of missionaries and to conduct them himself to the Far East. At Pisa, 
however, St Francis appeared to him and bade him return to Udine, declaring that 
he himself would look after those distant missions about which Odoric was anxious. 
On his deathbed the worn-out apostle said that God had made known to him that 
his sins were pardoned, but that he wished, like a humble child, to submit himself 
to the keys of the Church and to receive the last sacraments. He died on January 
14, 133 1. Many miracles are said to have been wrought after his death, and in 
one of these we hear again of Brother James the Irishman, for a certain Franciscan 
who was a preacher and doctor of theology at Venice, and had suffered cruelly from 
a painful malady of the throat, asked Brother James to recommend him to his late 
fellow traveller, and was immediately cured. The cultus long paid to him was 
approved in 1755. 

The narrative of his journeys, as dictated in Latin by Bd Odoric, will be found printed 
in the Acta Sanctorum for January 14, but the fullest account, with translation and notes, 
will be found in Yule-Cordier, Cathay and the Way Thither (191 3), vol. ii. See also Wadding, 
Annales, s.a. 1331 ; M. Komroff, Contemporaries of Marco Polo (1928) ; and H. Matrod, 
Uitineraire . . . du b. Odoric de Pordenone (1936). There is a fifteenth-century Welsh 
version of the voyages, ed. S. J. Williams, Ffordd y Brawd Odrig (1929). Fuller biblio- 
graphies in Yule and in U. Chevalier, Bio-Bibliographie. 

BD GILES OF LORENZANA (ad. 15 18) 

The published lives of this Giles tell us that he was born about 1443 at Lorenzana 
in what was once the kingdom of Naples. His parents were a devout couple of 
the working class, and the boy was not hindered in the religious practices which he 
adopted from early youth, more especially after he came under the influence of 
the Franciscan friars, who made a foundation in his native town. In time he 

89 


January 14] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

decided to serve God in solitude, settling near a little shrine of our Lady. Here 
he spent most of his time absorbed in prayer, the birds and beasts becoming his 
familiar companions. But the news of the miracles he was believed to work 
gradually attracted visitors, and being forced to seek refuge elsewhere, he next took 
service with a farmer near Lorenzana. Of this stage of his life it is said that, 
though he spent most of his time in church, his work, God so disposing, did not 
suffer from his absence. Eventually he was received into the Franciscan com- 
munity as a lay-brother, and being given the care of the garden, he was allowed to 
build himself a little hut there, where he lived as in a kind of hermitage. He was 
still the friend of the birds and all living creatures, and his miraculous cures, his 
ecstatic prayer and gift of prophecy were renowaed far and wide. In particular 
he is said to have been frequently seen raised from the ground and to have been 
physically assaulted by the Evil One. He died on January 10, 15 18. The state- 
ment made that six years after his death his incorrupt body, though it had been 
laid in the tomb in the ordinary way, was found kneeling, rosary in hand, and the 
face turned towards the Blessed Sacrament, can hardly be considered to rest upon 
evidence sufficient to establish so strange a marvel. The cult of Bd Giles was 
confirmed in 1880. 

See L£on, Aureole Seraphique (English trans.), January 10 ; Antony da Vicenza, Vita 
e miracoli del B. Egidio (1880). 

ST ANTONY PUGGI (ad. 1892) 

This saint , though a member of a religious order, the Servants of Mary, spent 
most of his life and achieved holiness as a parish priest. He was born of peasant 
stock at Poggiole, near Pistoia, in 18 19 ; he was the second of seven children and 
was christened Eustace. As a boy his kind and gentle disposition was noticeable, 
as was his industry and willingness to help, especially in his parish church, of which 
his father was sacristan. Nevertheless, when Eustace's inclination to become a 
Servite had been finally confirmed during a pilgrimage to the shrine of our 
Lady at Bocca, Pucci senior and his wife opposed their son's resolution (he 
was their eldest boy), and it was not till he was eighteen, in 1837, that he entered 
the Servite priory of the Annunciation at Florence. He took the names of 
Antony Mary. 

During his early years as a religious Brother Antony showed those qualities of 
frankness and of steadiness in face of difficulties that were to distinguish him all his 
life. Prayer and obedience were his first concern, and after them study. He was 
ordained in 1843, and less than a year later was appointed curate of St Andrew's 
church in Viareggio. In 1847, when still only 28, he became parish priest there. 
Viareggio is a seaside town — a fishing-port with a ship-building yard, but chiefly 
a holiday resort — and here Father Antony remained for the rest of his days. 

Father Antony's flock called him " II curatino ", which can't be translated into 
English ; but it means that he was " a grand little man ", who was equally loved 
and respected. It has been said of him that he was before his time in recognizing 
the need for organization, and organizations, in a parish. But he never forgot that 
these things are but means to an end, and that end the life of divine charity ; and 
that the living example of love must come from the father of the flock. He was 
the father and therefore the servant of all : the sick, the aged, the poor, all in 
trouble or distress, came to him, and he served them without stint. This selfless- 

90 


ST PAUL THE HERMIT [January 15 

ness was never more apparent than when Viareggio was visited by two bad epi- 
demics, in 1854 and in 1866 ; and one of the fruits of Father Antony's love for the 
young was his inauguration of a seaside nursing-home for children — something 
quite new in those days. To the religious instruction of children he devoted much 
thought and work, emphasizing that what is done in church and school must be 
begun and finished in the home. Nor were his concerns bounded by the limits of 
his parish : in his enthusiasm for the conversion of the heathen Father Antony was 
one of the pioneers in Italy of the work of the A.P.F. and of the Holy Childhood 
Society. 

St Antony Pucci died on January 14, 1892 at the age of 73; his passing was 
greeted with an outburst of grief in Viareggio, and miracles of healing took place 
at his grave. He was beatified in 1952, and canonized in 1962 during the Second 
Vatican Council. 

See the decree of beatification in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xliv (1952) ; and Un 
apostolo della caritd (1920), by a Servite. 


15 


ST PAUL THE HERMIT (ad. 342) 


ELIAS and St John the Baptist sanctified the desert, and Jesus Christ Himself 
was a model of the eremitical state during His forty days' fast in the 
wilderness. But while we cannot doubt that the saint of this day was guided 
by the Holy Ghost to live in solitude far from the haunts of men, we must recognize 
that this was a special vocation, and not an example to be rashly imitated. Speaking 
generally, this manner of life is beset with many dangers, and ought only to be 
embraced by those already well-grounded in virtue and familiar with the practice 
of contemplative prayer. 

St Paul was a native of the lower Thebaid in Egypt, and lost both his parents 
when he was but fifteen years of age. Nevertheless, he was proficient in Greek 
and Egyptian learning, was gentle and modest, and feared God from his earliest 
youth. The cruel persecution of Decius disturbed the peace of the Church in 250 ; 
and Satan by his ministers sought not so much to kill the bodies, as by subtle 
artifices to destroy the souls of men. During these times of danger Paul kept 
himself concealed in the -house of a friend; but finding that a brother-in-law 
coveting his estate was inclined to betray him, he fled into the desert. There he 
found certain caverns which were said to have been the retreat of money-coiners 
in the days of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. He chose for his dwelling a cave in this 
place, near which were a palm tree and a clear spring ; the former by its leaves 
furnished him with raiment, and by its fruit with food ; and the latter supplied 
him with water to drink. Paul was twenty-two years old when he entered the 
desert. His first intention was to enjoy liberty in serving God till the persecution 
should cease ; but relishing the sweets of solitude and heavenly contemplation, he 
resolved to return no more and never to concern himself with the things of the 
world ; it was enough for him to know that there was a world, and to pray that it 
might grow better. He lived on the fruit of his tree till he was forty-three years 
of age, and from that time till his death, like Elias, he was miraculously fed with 
bread brought him every day by a raven. His method of life, and what he did in 
this place during ninety years, is hidden from us ; but God was pleased to make 
His servant known a little before his death. 

9 1 


January 15] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

The great St Antony, who was then ninety years of age, was tempted to vanity, 
thinking that no one had served God so long in the wilderness as he had done, since 
he believed himself to be the first to adopt this unusual way of life ; but the contrary 
was made known to him in a dream, and the saint was at the same time commanded 
by Almighty God to set out forthwith in quest of a solitary more perfect than him- 
self. The old man started the next morning. St Jerome relates that he met a 
centaur, or creature with something of the mixed shape of man and horse, and that 
this monster or phantom of the devil (St Jerome does not profess to determine 
which it was), upon his making the sign of the cross, fled away, after having pointed 
out the road. Our author adds that St Antony soon after met also a satyr, who gave 
him to understand that he dwelt here in the desert, and was one of those beings 
whom the deluded gentiles worshipped.* St Antony, after two days and a night 
spent in the search, discovered the saint's abode by a light which shone from it and 
guided his steps. Having begged admittance at the door of the cell, St Paul at last 
opened it with a smile ; they embraced, and called each other by their names, 
which they knew by revelation. St Paul then inquired whether idolatry still 
reigned in the world. While they were discoursing together, a raven flew towards 
them, and dropped a loaf of bread before them. Upon which St Paul said, " Our 
good God has sent us a dinner. In this manner have I received half a loaf every 
day these sixty years past ; now you have come to see me, Christ has doubled His 
provision for His servants." Having given thanks to God, they both sat down by 
the spring. But a little contest arose between them as to who should break the 
bread ; St Antony alleged St Paul's greater age, and St Paul pleaded that Antony 
was the stranger : both agreed at last to take up their parts together. Having 
refreshed themselves at the spring, they spent the night in prayer. 

The next morning St Paul told his guest that the time of his death approached, 
and that he had been sent to bury him, adding, " Go and fetch the cloak given you 
by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in which I desire you to wrap my body." 
This he probably said that he might be left alone in prayer, while expecting to be 
called out of this world ; as also that he might testify his veneration for St Athan- 
asius, and his high regard for the faith and communion of the Catholic Church, on 
account of which that holy bishop was then a great sufferer. St Antony was 
surprised to hear him mention the cloak, of which he could only have known by 
revelation. Whatever was his motive for desiring to be buried in it, St Antony 
acquiesced in what was asked of him, and he hastened to his monastery to comply 
with St Paul's request. He told his monks that he, a sinner, falsely bore the name 
of a servant of God ; but that he had seen Elias and John the Baptist in the wilder- 
ness, even Paul in Paradise. Having taken the cloak, he returned with it in all 
haste, fearing lest the hermit might be dead ; as, in fact, it happened. Whilst on 
the road he saw his soul carried up to Heaven, attended by choirs of angels, prophets 
and apostles. St Antony, though he rejoiced on St Paul's account, could not help 
lamenting on his own, for having lost a treasure so lately discovered. He arose, 
pursued his journey, and came to the cave. Going in he found the body kneeling, 
and the hands stretched out. Full of joy, and supposing him yet alive, he knelt 

* Educated pagans were no less credulous than their Christian contemporaries. Plutarch, 
in his life of Sylla, says that a satyr was brought to that general at Athens ; and St Jerome 
tells us that one was shown alive at Alexandria, and after its death was embalmed, and sent 
to Antioch that Constantine the Great might see it. Pliny and others assure us that centaurs 
have been seen. 

92 


ST MACARIUS THE ELDER [January 15 

down to pray with him, but by his silence soon perceived Paul was dead. Whilst 
he stood perplexed how to dig a grave, two lions came up quietly, and as it were 
mourning ; and, tearing up the ground, made a hole large enough. St Antony then 
buried the body, singing psalms according to the rite then usual in the Church. 
After this he returned home praising God, and related to his monks what he had 
seen and done. He always kept as a great treasure, and wore himself on great 
festivals, the garment of St Paul, of palm-tree leaves patched together. St Paul 
died in the year 342, the hundred and thirteenth of his age, and the ninetieth of his 
solitude, and is usually called the " First Hermit ", to distinguish him from others 
of that name. He is commemorated in the canon of the Mass according to the 
Coptic and Armenian rites. 

The summary which Alban Butler has here given of the life of the First Hermit is taken 
from the short biography edited in Latin by St Jerome, and afterwards widely circulated in 
the West. It seems possible, though this has been much disputed, that St Jerome himself 
did little more than translate a Greek text of which we have versions in Syriac, Arabic and 
Coptic, and which contained a good deal of fabulous matter. Jerome, however, undoubtedly 
regarded the life as in substance historical. The Greek original seems to have been written 
as a supplement, and in some measure a correction, to the Life of St Antony by St Athanasius. 
See on the whole question F. Nau in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xx (1901), pp. 121-157. 
The two principal Greek texts have been edited by J. Bidez (1900), the Syriac and Coptic 
by Pereira (1904). Cf. also J. de Decker, Contribution a V etude des vies de Paul de Thebes 
(1905) ; Plenkers in Der Katholik (1905), vol. ii, pp. 294-300 ; Schiwietz, Das morgenldndische 
Monchtum (1904), pp. 49-51 ; Cheneau d 'Orleans, Les Saints d'Egypte (1923), vol. i, pp. 
76-86. For a French translation of Jerome's Life of Paul, see R. Draguet, Les Peres du 
desert (1949) ; and cf. H. Waddell, The Desert Fathers (1936), pp. 35-53. 

ST MACARIUS THE ELDER (ad. 390) 

This Macarius was born in Upper Egypt, about the year 300, and spent his youth 
in tending cattle. By a powerful call of divine grace he retired from the world at 
an early age and, dwelling in a little cell, made mats, in continual prayer and the 
practice of great austerities. A woman falsely accused him of having offered her 
violence, for which supposed crime he was dragged through the streets, beaten and 
insulted, as a base hypocrite under the garb of a monk. He suffered all with 
patience, and sent the woman what he earned by his work, saying to himself, 
" Well, Macarius ! having now another to provide for, thou must work the harder ". 
But God made his innocence known ; for the woman falling in labour, lay in ex- 
treme anguish, and could not be delivered till she had named the true father of her 
child. The fury of the people turned into admiration for the saint's humility and 
patience. To escape the esteem of men he fled to the vast and melancholy desert 
of Skete, being then about thirty years of age. In this solitude he lived sixty years, 
and became the spiritual parent of innumerable holy persons who put themselves 
under his direction and were governed by the rules he laid down for them ; but all 
occupied separate hermitages. St Macarius admitted only one disciple to dwell with 
him, whose duty it was to receive strangers. He was compelled by an Egyptian 
bishop to receive the priesthood that he might celebrate the divine mysteries 
for the convenience of this colony. When the desert became better peopled, 
there were four churches built in it, which were served by so many priests. 

The austerities of St Macarius were excessive ; he usually ate but once a week. 
Evagrius, his disciple, once asked him leave, when tortured with thirst, to drink a 
little water ; but Macarius bade him content himself with reposing awhile in the 

93 


January 15] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

shade, saying, " For these twenty years I have never once eaten, drunk or slept as 
much as nature required ". His face was very pale, and his body feeble and 
shrivelled. To go against his own inclinations he did not refuse to drink a little 
wine when others desired him ; but then he would punish himself for this indul- 
gence by abstaining two or three days from all manner of drink ; and it was for this 
reason that his disciple besought strangers never to offer him wine. He delivered 
his instructions in few words, and recommended silence, retirement and continual 
prayer, especially the last, to all sorts of people. He used to say, " In prayer you 
need not use many or lofty words. You can often repeat with a sincere heart, 
* Lord, show me mercy as thou knowest best.' Or, ' O God, come to my assist- 
ance/ " His mildness and patience were invincible, and wrought the conversion of a 
heathen priest and many others. 

A young man applying to St Macarius for spiritual advice, he directed him to 
go to a burying-place and upbraid the dead ; and after that to go and flatter them. 
When he returned the saint asked him what answer the dead had made. " None 
at all ", said the other, " either to reproaches or praises." " Then ", replied 
Macarius, " go and learn neither to be moved by abuse nor by flattery. If you die 
to the world and to yourself, you will begin to live to Christ." He said to another, 
" Receive from the hand of God poverty as cheerfully as riches, hunger and want 
as readily as plenty ; then you will conquer the Devil, and subdue your passions." 
A certain monk complained to him that in solitude he was always tempted to break 
his fast, whereas in the monastery he could fast the whole week cheerfully. " Vain- 
glory is the reason ", replied the saint ; " Fasting pleases when men see you ; but 
seems intolerable when the craving for esteem is not gratified." One came to 
consult him who was molested with temptations to impurity ; the saint examining 
into the source, convinced himself that the trouble was due to indolence. Accord- 
ingly, he advised him never to eat before sunset, to meditate fervently at his work, 
and to labour vigorously without slackening the whole day. The other faithfully 
complied, and was freed from his torment. God revealed to St Macarius that he 
had not attained to the perfection of two married women, who lived in a certain 
town. The saint thereupon paid them a visit, and learned the means by which 
they sanctified themselves. They were careful never to speak idle or rash words ; 
they lived in humility, patience, charity and conformity to the humours of their 
husbands ; and they sanctified all their actions by prayer, consecrating to the 
divine glory all the powers of their soul and body. 

A heretic of the sect of the Hieracites, called so from Hie rax, who denied the 
resurrection of the dead, had caused some to be unsettled in their faith. St 
Macarius, to confirm them in the truth, raised a dead man to life, as Socrates, 
Sozomen, Palladius and Rufinus relate. Cassian says that he only made a dead 
body to speak for that purpose ; then bade it rest till the resurrection. Lucius, 
the Arian usurper of the see of Alexandria, sent troops into the desert to disperse 
the zealous monks, several of whom sealed their faith with their blood. The 
leading ascetics, namely the two Macariuses, Isidore, Pambo and some others were 
banished to a little island in the Nile delta, surrounded with marshes. The 
inhabitants, who were pagans, were all converted by the example and preaching 
of these holy men. In the end Lucius suffered them to return to their cells. 
Macarius, knowing that his end drew near, paid a visit to the monks of Nitria, and 
exhorted them in such moving terms that they all fell weeping at his feet. " Let 
us weep, brethren ", said he, " and let our eyes pour forth floods of tears before 

94 


ST JOHN CALYBITES [January 15 

we go hence, lest we fall into that place where tears will only feed the flames in 
which we shall burn." He went to receive the reward of his labours at the age of 
ninety, after having spent sixty years in Skete. Macarius seems to have been, as 
Cassian asserts, the first anchoret who inhabited this vast wilderness. Some style 
him a disciple of St Antony ; but it appears that he could not have lived under the 
direction of Antony before he retired to Skete. It seems, however, that later on 
he paid a visit, if not several, to that holy patriarch of monks, whose dwelling was 
fifteen days' journey distant. Macarius is commemorated in the canon of the 
Mass according to the Coptic and Armenian rites. 

See Palladius, Historia Lausiaca, c. 19 seq. ; Acta Sanctorum, January 15 ; Schiwietz, 
Morgenland. Mdnchtum, vol. i, pp. 97 seq. ; Bardenhewer, Patrology (Eng. ed.), pp. 266-267 ; 
Gore in Jour n. of TheoL Stud., vol. viii, pp. 85-90 ; Cheneau d'Orl£ans, Les saints d'Egypte 
(1923), vol. i, pp. 1 17-138. 

ST ISIDORE OF ALEXANDRIA (ad. 404) 

In early life Isidore, after distributing his large fortune to the poor, became an 
ascetic in the Nitrian desert. Afterwards he fell under the influence of St Athan- 
asius, who ordained him and took him to Rome in 341. The greater part of his 
life, however, seems to have been passed as governor of the great hospital at 
Alexandria. When Palladius, the author of the Lausiac History, came to Egypt 
to adopt an ascetic life, he addressed himself first to Isidore, who advised him 
simply to practise austerity and self-denial, and then to return for further instruc- 
tion. During his last days the saint, when over eighty years of age, was over- 
whelmed with persecutions, misrepresentations and troubles of every description. 
St Jerome denounced him in violent terms for his supposed Origenist sympathies, 
and his own bishop, Theophilus, who had once been his friend, excommunicated 
him, so that Isidore was driven to take refuge in the Nitrian desert, where he had 
spent his youth. In the end he fled to Constantinople to seek the protection of St 
John Chrysostom, and there shortly afterwards he died at the age of eighty-five. 

See Palladius, Historia Lausiaca, and Dialogus de vita Chrysostomi ; and Acta Sanctorum, 
January 15. 

ST JOHN CALYBITES (c. ad. 450) 

It was at Gomon on the Bosphorus, among the " sleepless " monks founded by St 
Alexander Akimetes, that St John sought seclusion, leaving his father and a 
large fortune. After six years he returned disguised in the rags of a beggar, and 
lived unrecognized upon the charity afforded him by his parents, close to their door 
in a little hut (/caAu/fy) ; whence he is known as " Calybites ". He sanctified his 
soul by wonderful patience, meekness and prayer. When at the point of death he 
is said to have revealed his identity to his mother, producing in proof the book of 
the gospels, bound in gold, which he had used as a boy. He asked to be buried 
under the hut he had occupied, and this was granted, but a church was built over 
it, and his relics were at a later date translated to Rome. The legend of Calybites 
has either originated from, or been confused with, those of St Alexis, St Onesimus, 
and one or two others in which the same idea recurs of a disguise long persisted in. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 15, and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xv (1896), pp. 
256-267. Cj. also Synaxarium Cp. (ed. Delehaye), p. 393. 

95 


January 15] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST ITA, Virgin (c. a.d. 570) 

Among the women saints of Ireland, St Ita (also called Ida and Mida, with other 
variant spellings) holds the foremost place after St Brigid. Although her life has 
been overlaid with a multitude of mythical and extravagant miracles, there is no 
reason to doubt her historical existence. She is said to have been of royal descent, 
to have been born in one of the baronies of Decies, near Drum, Co. Waterford, and 
to have been originally called Deirdre. A noble suitor presented himself, but by 
fasting and praying for three days Ita, with angelic help, won her father's consent 
to her leading a life of virginity. She accordingly migrated to Hy Conaill, in the 
western part of the present county of Limerick. There at Killeedy she gathered 
round her a community of maidens and there, after long years given to the service 
of God and her neighbour, she eventually died, probably in the year 570. We 
are told that at first she often went without food for three or four days at a time. 
An angel appeared and counselled her to have more regard for her health, and when 
she demurred, he told her that in future God would provide for her needs. From 
that time forth she lived entirely on food sent her from Heaven. A religious 
maiden, a pilgrim from afar, asked her one day, " Why is it that God loves thee so 
much ? Thou art fed by Him miraculously, thou healest all manner of diseases, 
thou prophesiest regarding the past and the future, the angels converse with thee 
daily, and thou never ceasest to keep thy thoughts fixed upon the divine mysteries." 
Then Ita gave her to understand that it was this very practice of continual medita- 
tion, in which she had trained herself from childhood, which was the source of all 
the rest. Ita is said to have been sought out and consulted by the most saintly of 
her countrymen. 

It appears that St Ita conducted a school for small boys, and we are told that 
the bishop St Ere committed to her care one who was afterwards destined to be 
famous as abbot and missionary, the child Brendan, who for five years was trained 
by her. One day the boy asked her to tell him three things which God specially 
loved. She answered : " True faith in God with a pure heart, a simple life with 
a religious spirit, openhandedness inspired by charity — these three things God 
specially loves." " And what ", continued the boy, " are the three things which 
God most abhors ? " " A face ", she said, " which scowls upon all mankind, 
obstinacy in wrong-doing, and an overweening confidence in the power of money ; 
these are three things which are hateful in God's sight." 

Not a few of the miracles attributed to St Ita are very preposterous, as, for 
example, the story that a skilful craftsman whose services she had retained, and to 
whom she gave her sister as wife, promising that he should become the father of 
a famous and holy son, went out to battle against a party of raiders and had his 
head cut off. On making a search for him, they found the trunk, but the head 
had been carried away by the victors. Then Ita, because her promise was 
still unfulfilled, set to work to pray ; whereupon the head, by the power of 
God, flew back through the air to unite itself to the body, and an hour later 
the man, standing up alive, returned with them to the convent. Afterwards he 
had a son who was known as St Mochoemog (hypocoristic for Coemgen), the 
future abbot of Liath-mor or Leagh, in Tipperary. It was St Ita who had 
care of him, and gave him his name, which means " my beautiful little one ", 
sometimes latinized as Pulcherius, St Ita's feast is celebrated throughout 
Ireland. 

96 


ST BONITUS, OR BONET [January 15 

The life of St. Ita has been critically edited by C. Plummer in VSH., vol. ii, pp. 1 16-130. 
See also the Acta Sanctorum, January 15 ; J. Colgan, Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae ; LIS., 
vol. i, p. 200 ; J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism (193 1), pp. 138-140 ; and J. Begley, Diocese of 
Limerick, Ancient and Modern (1906), ch. iv. 

ST MAURUS, Abbot (Sixth Century) 

Among other noblemen who placed their sons under the care of St Benedict to be 
brought up in piety and learning a certain Equitius left his son Maurus, then but 
twelve years old ; and when he was grown up St Benedict made him his assistant 
in the government of Subiaco. The boy Placid, going one day to fetch water, fell 
into the lake and was carried the distance of a bow-shot from the bank. St Benedict 
saw this in spirit in his cell, and bade Maurus run and draw him out. Maurus 
obeyed, walked unknowingly upon the water, and dragged out Placid by the hair. 
He attributed the miracle to the prayers of St Benedict ; but the abbot declared 
that God had rewarded the obedience of the disciple. Not long after, the holy 
patriarch retired to Monte Cassino, and St Maurus may have become superior at 
Subiaco. 

This, which we learn from St Gregory the Great, is all that can be told with any 
probability regarding the life of St Maurus. It is, however, stated upon the 
authority of a pretended biography by pseudo-Faustus — i.e. Abbot Odo of 
Glanfeuil — that St Maurus, coming to France, founded by the liberality 
of King Theodebert the great abbey of Glanfeuil, afterwards called Saint-Maur- 
sur-Loire, which he governed until his seventieth year. Maurus then resigned 
the abbacy, and passed the remainder of his life in solitude to prepare himself 
for his passage to eternity. After two years he fell sick, and died on January 
15 in the year 584. He was buried on the right side of the altar in the church of 
St Martin, and on a roll of parchment laid in his tomb was inscribed this epitaph : 
" Maurus, a monk and deacon, who came into France in the days of King 
Theodebert, and died the eighteenth day before the month of February." 
That this parchment was really found in the middle of the ninth century is 
probable enough ; but there is no reliable evidence to establish the fact that 
the Maurus so described is identical with the Maurus who was the disciple of St 
Benedict. 

From the time of Bollandus and of Mabillon (who in his Acta Sanctorum, O.S.B., vol. i, 
pp. 275-298 printed the Life of St Maurus by pseudo-Faustus as an authentic document) 
down to the present day a lively controversy has raged over the question of St Maurus 's 
connection with Glanfeuil. Bruno Krusch (Neues Archiv, vol. xxxi, pp. 245-247) considers 
that we have no reason to affirm the existence of any such monk as Maurus, or any abbey at 
Glanfeuil in Merovingian times. Without going quite so far as this, Fr Poncelet, in many 
notes in the Analecta Bollandiana {e.g. vol. xv, pp. 355-356), and U. Berliere in the Revue 
Benedictine (vol. xxii, pp. 541-542) are agreed *hat the life by " Faustus " is quite untrust- 
worthy. An admirable review of the whole discussion, summing it up in the same sense, 
has been published by H. Lecleicq in DAC, $.7'. " Glanfeuil " (vol. vi, cc. 1283-13 19). 
See also J. McCann, St Benedict (1938), pp. 274-281. 

ST BONITUS, or BONET, Bishop of Clermont (a.d. 706) 

St Bonitus was referendary or chancellor to St Sigebert III, king of Austrasia ; 
and by his zeal, religion and justice flourished in that kingdom under four kings. 
In 677 Thierry III made him governor of Marseilles, an office he carried out with 

97 


January 15] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

distinction and liberality. His elder brother, St Avitus II, Bishop of Clermont 
in Auvergne, having recommended him for his successor, died in 689, and Bonet 
was consecrated. But after having governed that see some years with exemplary 
piety, he had a scruple whether his election had been perfectly canonical ; and 
having consulted St Tillo, then leading an eremitical life at Solignac, resigned his 
dignity, led a most penitential life in the abbey of Manglieu, and after having made 
a pilgrimage to Rome died at Lyons in 706. The colloquial form of this saint's 
name is Bont. 

See his life, written by a monk of Sommon in Auvergne, published in the Acta Sanctorum, 
January 15 ; MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi ; and CMH., pp. 37-38. 

ST CEOLWULF (a.d. 760 : ) 

It is difficult to find any trace of late medieval cultus of this Northumbrian 
king, but he was held in high honour after his death, his body in 830 being trans- 
lated to Norham, and the head to Durham. Bede speaks enthusiastically of 
his virtues and his zeal, and dedicated to him his Ecclesiastical History, which 
he submitted to the king's criticism. Ceolwulf ended his days as a monk at 
Lindisfarne, and it is recorded that through his influence the community, who 
previously had drunk nothing but water or milk, were allowed to take beer, 
and even wine. His relics were said to work many miracles. Simeon of 
Durham assigns his death to 764, but in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle the date 
given is 760. 

Practically all available information will be found collected in Plummer's edition of Bede, 
especially vol. ii, p. 340. 

BD PETER OF GASTELNAU, Martyr (a.d. 1208) 

This Cistercian monk was born near Montpellier, and in 1199 we hear of him 
as archdeacon of Maguelone, but he entered the Cistercian Order a year or two 
later. To him, aided by another of his religious brethren, Pope Innocent III 
in 1203 confided the mission of taking action as apostolic delegate and inquisi- 
tor against the Albigensian heretics, a duty which Peter discharged with much 
zeal, but little success. The opposition against him, which was fanned by 
Raymund VI, Count of Toulouse, ended in his assassination on January 15, 
1209, r*ot far from the abbey of Saint-Gilles. Pierced through the body by a 
lance, Bd Peter cried to his murderer, " May God forgive thee as fully as I for- 
give thee ". His relics were enshrined and venerated in the abbey church of 
Saint-Gilles. 

See Acta Sanctorum, March 5 ; Hurter in Kirchenlexikon, vol. ii, cc. 2031-2033 ; H. 
Nickerson, The Inquisition, pp. 77-95. 

BD FRANCIS DE CAPILLAS, Martyr (a.d. 1648) 

The Dominicans followed the Jesuits to China early in the seventeenth century, 
and to the Order of Preachers belongs the honour of having produced the first 
native Chinese priest and bishop, Gregory Lo (1616-1691), and the first beatified 
martyr in China, Francis Ferdinand de Capillas. He was born of humble stock in 
the province of Valladolid, and joined the Preachers when he was seventeen. He 

98 


BD FRANCIS DE CAPILLAS [January 15 

volunteered for the mission in the Philippines, and received the priesthood at 
Manila in 1631. For ten years he laboured under a tropical sun in the Cagayan 
district of Luzon, regarding this apostolic field as a sort of training-ground for 
the still more arduous mission to which he felt himself destined. Here it was, 
accordingly, that he already practised great austerities, lying, for example, upon 
a wooden cross during the short hours he gave to sleep, and deliberately ex- 
posing his body to the bites of the insects which infest these regions. At last, 
in 1642, he was chosen to accompany the pioneer missionary, Father Francis 
Diaz, o.P., who was returning by way of Formosa to take up again the apostolate 
he had already begun in the Chinese province of Fokien. After learning 
the language an immense success is said to have attended the labours of Father 
de Capillas, and in Fogan, Moyan, Tingteu and other towns, he made many 
converts. 

Unfortunately it was just at this epoch that great revolutionary disturbances 
shook the whole Chinese empire. The Ming dynasty came to an end, and the 
Manchu Tatars were called in to help to quell one party of the rebels, with the 
result that they themselves eventually became masters of the country. In Fokien 
a stout resistance was offered to the Tatars, and although they occupied Fogan they 
were besieged there by the armies of the Chinese viceroy. It would seem that 
while the town was thus invested Father de Capillas entered it by stealth to render 
spiritual assistance to some of his converts. The mandarins of the old adminis- 
tration had been tolerant and often friendly to the Christians. The new masters 
were bitterly hostile to the religion of the foreigner. Father de Capillas was caught, 
cruelly tortured, tried as a spy who was believed to be conveying information to the 
besiegers, and in the end put to death by having his head cut off, on January 15, 
1648. In view of the question raised in the case of some of our English martyrs 
as to whether they really died for the faith, or were only put to death as political 
offenders, it is interesting to note that although Fathers Ferrando and Fonseca in 
their Spanish History of the Dominicans in the Philippines admit that sedition 
(rebeldid) was the formal charge upon which Father de Capillas was sentenced to 
death, the Holy See has pronounced him to be a true martyr. 

In reference to this same holy Dominican, a quotation may not be out of place 
from Sir Robert K. Douglas : 

" Why do you so much trouble yourselves ", the emperor [K'anghsi] asked 
on one occasion of a missionary, " about a world which you have never yet 
entered ? " and adopting the, to him, canonical view, he expressed his opinion 
that it would be much wiser if they thought less of the world to come and more 
of the present life. It is possible that when he said this he may have had in 
his mind the dying word of Ferdinand de Capillas, who suffered martyrdom 
in 1648 : " I have had no home but the world ", said this priest, as he faced 
his last earthly judge, " no bed but the ground, no food but what Providence 
sent me from day to day, and no other object but to do and suffer for the glory 
of Jesus Christ and for the eternal happiness of those who believe in His 
name." 

See Touron, Histoire des hommes illustres O.P., vol. vi, pp. 732-735 ; but especially Juan 
Ferrando and Joaquin Fonseca, Historia de los PP. Dominicos en las Islas Filipinas, vol. ii, 
pp. 569-587. Cf. R. K. Douglas, China, in the Story of the Nations series, pp. 61-62. For 
other martyrs in China see herein under February 17, May 26, July 9 and September 11. 
Bd Francis de Capillas was beatified in 1909. 

99 


January 16] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 


16 


ST MARCELLUS I, Pope and Martyr (a.d. 309) 


ST MARCELLUS had been a priest under Pope St Marcellinus, and 
succeeded him in 308, after the see of Peter had been vacant for three years 
and a half. An epitaph written of him by Pope St Damasus says that by 
enforcing the canons of penance he drew upon himself the hostility of many tepid 
and refractory Christians, and that for his severity against a certain apostate, he 
was banished by Maxentius. He died in 309 at his unknown place of exile. The 
Liber Pontificalis states that Lucina, the widow of one Pinian, who lodged St 
Marcellus when he lived in Rome, after his death converted her house into a church, 
which she called by his name. His false acts relate that, among other sufferings, 
he was condemned by the tyrant to keep cattle. He is styled a martyr in the early 
sacramentaries and martyrologies, but the fifth-century account of his martyrdom 
conflicts with the earlier epitaph. His body lies in Rome under the high altar in 
the ancient church which bears his name and gives its title to a cardinal. 

The difficult question of the chronology of the brief pontificate of Pope St Marcellus has 
been discussed at length by Mgr Duchesne {Liber Pontificalis, vol. i, pp. xcix and 164) and 
Father Grisar (Kirchenlexikon, vol. viii, cc. 656-658) : cf. also Duchesne in Melanges d'arch. 
. . ., 1898, pp. 382-392, and CMH., pp. 42-43. 

ST PRISCILLA, Matron (c. a.d. 98) 

It is tantalizing to know so little of St Priscilla, who is commemorated in the 
Roman Martyrology on this day and who has given her name as foundress to what 
is probably the most ancient and interesting of the catacombs. She seems to have 
been the wife of Manius Acilius Glabrio, who, as we learn from the pagan historians 
Suetonius and Dion Cassius, was put to death by Domitian on the pretext of some 
crime of sedition or blasphemous impiety, under which charge we may perhaps 
recognize a conversion to Christianity. It is likely that St Priscilla was the mother 
of the senator St Pudens, and through him, the ancestress of SS. Praxedis and 
Pudentiana. St Peter, the apostle, is believed to have used a villa belonging to 
St Priscilla on the Via Salaria, beneath which the catacomb was afterwards excav- 
ated, as the seat of his activities in Rome. There can be no doubt that the Acilii 
Glabriones were intimately connected with this spot, and that many of the family 
in the second and third centuries were Christians and were buried in the catacombs. 

See De Rossi in Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1 888-1 889, pp. 15 and 103 ; Marucchi 
in Nttovo bullettino . . ., vol. viii (1902), pp. 217-232 ; H. Leclercq in DAC, s.v. " Glabrion", 
vol. vi, cc. 1259-1274. 

ST HONORATUS, Bishop of Arles (a.d. 429) 

Honoratus was of a consular Roman family settled in Gaul, and was well versed 
in the liberal arts. In his youth he renounced the worship of idols and gained to 
Christ his elder brother Venantius, whom he also inspired with a contempt for the 
world. They desired to forsake it entirely, but their father put continual obstacles 
in their way. At length they took with them St Caprasius, a holy hermit, to act 
as their instructor, and sailed from Marseilles to Greece, intending to live there 
unknown in some desert. Venantius soon died at Modon ; and Honoratus, having 
also fallen ill, was obliged to return with his conductor. He first led an eremitical 

100 


ST FURSEY [January 16 

life in the mountains near Frejus. Two small islands lie in the sea near that coast : 
one larger and nearer the continent, called Lero, now St Margaret's ; the other 
smaller and more remote, two leagues from Antibes, named Lerins, at present 
Saint-Honorat, from our saint. There he settled ; and being followed by others 
he founded the famous monastery of Lerins about the year 400. Some he appointed 
to live in community ; others in separate cells as anchorets. His rule was chiefly 
borrowed from that of St Pachomius. Nothing can be more attractive than the 
description St Hilary of Aries has given of the virtues of this company of saints, 
especially of the charity and devotion which reigned amongst them. 

A charming legend, unfortunately of much later date, recounts how Margaret, 
the sister of Honoratus, converted at last from paganism by his prayers, came to 
settle on the other island, Lero, in order to be near her brother. With some 
reluctance he was induced to promise that he would visit her once a year, when the 
mimosa was in bloom. But on one occasion Margaret in great distress of soul 
longed for his guidance. It was still two months from the time appointed, but she 
fell upon her knees and prayed. Suddenly all the air was filled with an unmistak- 
able perfume ; she looked up, and there, close beside her, was a mimosa tree 
covered with its fragrant blossom. She tore off a bough and sent it to her brother, 
who understood her appeal and tenderly acceded to the summons. It was their 
last meeting, for she passed away soon afterwards. Honoratus was by compulsion 
consecrated archbishop of Aries in 426, and died exhausted with austerities and 
apostolic labours in 429. The style of his letters, so St Hilary, his successor, 
assures us, was clear and affecting, penned with an admirable delicacy, elegance 
and sweetness. The loss of all these is much to be regretted. His tomb is shown 
empty under the high altar of the church which bears his name at Aries, his body 
having been translated to Lerins in 1391. 

C/. Gallia Christiana novissima, vol. iii (1901), p. 26 ; Revue Benedictine, vol. iv, pp. 
180-184 ; Duchesne, Fastes fipiscopaux, vol. i, p. 256. See also his panegyric by his disciple, 
kinsman and successor, St Hilary of Aries, and especially A. C. Cooper-Marsden, The History 
of the Islands of the Lerins (191 3), illustrated with excellent photographs. B. Munke and 
others have edited a medieval Latin life of St Honoratus (191 1), but like the Provencal Vida 
de Sant Honorat it contains nothing of historical value. Hilary's discourse is translated in 
F. R. Hoare, The Western Fathers (1954). 

ST FURSEY, Abbot (c. a.d. 648) 

There are few of the early Irish saints whose lives are better known to us than that 
of St Fursey (Fursa). He seems to have been born near Lough Corrib — possibly 
upon the island of Inisquin itself. Though conflicting accounts are given of his 
parentage, he was certainly of noble birth, but, as we are told, he was more noble 
by virtue than by blood. His gifts of person and mind are dilated on by his 
biographer, but in order to equip himself better in sacred learning he left his home 
and his own people, and eventually erected a monastery at Rathmat (? Killursa), 
which was thronged by recruits from all parts of Ireland. 

After a time, returning home to his family, he experienced the first of some 
wonderful ecstasies, which being detailed by his biographer and recounted after- 
wards by such writers as Bede and Aelfric, became famous throughout the Christian 
world. During these trances his body seems to have remained motionless in a 
cataleptic seizure, and his brethren, believing him to be dead, made preparations 
for his burial. The principal subject of these visions was the effort of the powers 

101 


January 16] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of evil to claim the soul of the Christian as it quits the body on its passage to another 
life. A fierce struggle is depicted, in which the angels engage in conflict with the 
demons, refuting their arguments, and rescuing the soul from the flames with 
which it is threatened. In one particular vision we are told that St Fursey was 
lifted up on high and was ordered by the angels who conducted him to look back 
upon the world. Whereupon, casting his eyes downward, he saw as it were a dark 
and gloomy valley far beneath. Around this were four great fires kindled in the 
air, separate one from the other, and the angel told him that these four fires would 
consume all the world, and burn the souls of those men who through their misdeeds 
had made void the confession and promise of their baptism. The first fire, it was 
explained, will burn the souls of those who are forsworn and untruthful ; the 
second, those who give themselves up to greed ; the third, those who stir up strife 
and discord ; the fourth, those who think it no crime to deceive and defraud the 
helpless. Then the fires seemed all to coalesce and to threaten him with destruc- 
tion, so that he cried out in alarm. But the angel answered, " That which you did 
not kindle shall not burn within you, for though this appears to be a terrible and 
great fire, yet it tries every man according to the merits of his works ". Bede, after 
giving a long summary of these visions, writes : "An elderly brother of our 
monastery is still living who is wont to narrate how a very truthful and religious 
man told him that he had seen Fursey himself in the province of the East Angles, 
and heard these visions from his own lips ; adding, that though it was most sharp 
winter weather and a hard frost, and this man was sitting in a thin garment when 
he related it, yet he sweated as if it had been the greatest heat of summer, either 
through the panic of fear which the memory called up, or through excess of spiritual 
consolation ". This is certainly a very remarkable tribute to the vividness of St 
Fursey's descriptions. One other curious detail in connection with the visions 
is the statement that the saint, having jostled against a condemned soul, carried 
the brand-mark of that contact upon his shoulder and cheek until the day of his 
death. 

After twelve years of preaching in Ireland, St Fursey came with his brothers, 
St Foillan and St Ultan, tc England, and settled for a while in East Anglia, where 
he was cordially welcomed by King Sigebert, who gave him land to build a monas- 
tery, probably at Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth. This migration must have taken 
place after the year 630 ; but somewhere between 640 and 644 the Irish monk 
determined to cross over to Gaul. Establishing himself in Neustria, he was 
honourably received by Clovis II. He built a monastery at Lagny, but died, when 
on a journey, shortly afterwards, probably in 648. His remains were transferred 
to Peronne. The feast of St Fursey is celebrated throughout Ireland and also in 
the diocese of Northampton. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 16 ; Plummer's edition of Bede's Ecclesiastical 
History, vol. ii, pp. 169-174 ; M. Stokes, Three Months in the Forests of France, pp. 134-177 ; 
Moran, Irish Saints in Great Britain, p. 315 ; Healy, Ireland's Ancient Schools, p. 266 ; 
Gougaud, Gaelic Pioneers of Christianity, and Christianity in Celtic Lands ; Grutzmacher 
in Zeitschrift f. Kirchengesch., vol xix (1898), pp. 190-196. 

BD FERREOLUS, Bishop of Grenoble, Martyr (c. a.d. 670) 

Although the cult of Bd Ferreolus was confirmed by Pope Pius X in 1907, 
practically nothing is known of the facts of his life. He is said to have been the 

102 


BD GONSALO OF AMARANTE [January 16 

thirteenth bishop of Grenoble, but, as Mgr Duchesne points out, nothing connects 
him with the see but a feeble liturgical tradition. Later accounts describe him as 
resisting the demands of the tyrannical mayor of the palace, Ebroin, and as having 
been, in consequence, driven from his see, and eventually put to death. 

See Duchesne, Fastes Episcopaux, vol. i, p. 232, and the Acta Sanctorum for January 12. 

ST HENRY OF COCKET (ad. 1220) 

The Danes were indebted in part for the light of faith, under God, to the example 
and labours of English missionaries. Henry was born in that country, and from 
his youth gave himself to the divine service with his whole heart. When he came 
to man's estate he sailed to the north of England. The little island of Cocket, 
which lies on the coast of Northumberland, near the mouth of the river of the same 
name, had been the home of anchorets even in St Bede's time, as appears from his 
life of St Cuthbert. This island belonged to the monastery of Tynemouth, and 
St Henry undertook to lead in it an eremitical life. His only daily meal, which he 
took after sunset, was bread and water ; and this bread he earned by tilling a little 
garden. He died in his hermitage on January 16, 11 27, and was buried by the 
monks at Tynemouth in their church. 

His life by Capgrave is printed in the Ada Sanctorum for January 16. Cf. also Stanton, 
Menology, pp. 22-23. There seems to be no evidence of public cultus. 

SS. BERARD and his Companions, Martyrs (a.d. 1220) 

These five friars were sent by St Francis to the Mohammedans of the West whilst 
he went in person to those of the East. They preached first to the Moors of 
Seville, where they suffered much for their zeal, and were banished. Passing 
thence into Morocco, they began there to preach Christ, and tried to act as chaplains 
to the sultan's Christian mercenaries. The friars were looked on as lunatics and 
treated accordingly. When they refused either to return whence they had come 
or to keep silent, the sultan, taking his scimitar, clove their heads asunder, on 
January 16, 1220. These formed the vanguard of that glorious army of martyrs 
which the Seraphic order has since given to the Church. When St Francis heard 
the news of their heroic endurance and triumph, he cried out, " Now I can truly 
say I have five brothers ". They were SS. Berard, Peter, Odo, Accursio and 
Adjutus. 

They were canonized in 1481. See the Acta Sanctorum, January 16 ; Wadding, Annales 
Minorum, s.a. 1220 ; and in Analecta Franciscana, vol. iii, pp. 579-596. Cf. also Karl 
Miiller, Die Anfdnge des Minoritenordens, pp. 207-210 ; L6on, Aureole Seraphique (Eng. 
trans.), vol. i, pp. 99-1 11 ; and H. Koehler, Ufcglise du Maroc . . . (1934), PP- 3~20. 

BD GONSALO OF AMARANTE (a.d. 1259?) 

It must be confessed that many of the incidents recorded in the life of Bd Gonsalo 
(Gundisalvus), a Portuguese of high family, are not of a nature to inspire confidence 
in the sobriety of his biographer's judgement. At the very outset we are told that 
when carried to the font the infant fixed his eyes on the crucifix with a look of 
extraordinary love. Then, when he had grown up and been ordained priest, he is 
said to have resigned his rich benefice to his nephew, and to have spent fourteen 

103 


January 17] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

years upon a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his return, being repulsed by his 
nephew, who set the dogs on him as a vagrant, he was supernaturally directed to 
enter that order in which the office began and ended with the Ave Maria. He 
accordingly became a Dominican, but was allowed by his superiors to live as a 
hermit, during which time he built, largely with his own hands, a bridge over the 
river Tamega. When the labourers whom he persuaded to help him had no wine 
to drink, and he was afraid that they would go on strike, he betook himself to prayer ; 
and then, on his hitting the rock with his stick, an abundant supply of excellent 
wine spouted forth from a fissure. Again, when provisions failed he went to the 
riverside to summon the fishes, who came at his call and jumped out of the river, 
competing for the privilege of being eaten in so worthy a cause. Similarly, we 
read that " when he was preaching to the people, desiring to make them understand 
the effect of the Church's censures upon the soul, he excommunicated a basket 
of bread, and the loaves at once became black and corrupt. Then, to show that 
the Church can restore to her communion those who humbly acknowledge their 
fault, he removed the excommunication, and the loaves recovered their whiteness 
and their wholesome savour " (Procter, p. 3). It is to be feared that legend has 
played a considerable part in filling in the rather obscure outlines of the biography. 
Bd Gonsalo died on January 10, but his feast is kept on this day by the Dominicans, 
his cultus having been approved in 1560. 

See Castiglio, Historia Generale di S. Domenico e dell* Ordine suo (1589), vol. i, pp. 299- 
304 ; Procter, Short Lives of Dominican Saints, pp. 1-4 ; Acta Sanctorum for January 10. 
The miracle of the fishes is said to have occurred not once, but repeatedly : " molte e diverse 
volte ". 


17: 


ST ANTONY THE ABBOT (ad. 356) 


ST ANTONY was born at a village south of Memphis in Upper Egypt in 251. 
His parents, who were Christians, kept him always at home, so that he grew 
up in ignorance of what was then regarded as polite literature, and could read 
no language but his own. At their death he found himself possessed of a consider- 
able estate and charged with the care of a younger sister, before he was twenty years 
of age. Some six months afterwards he heard read in the church those w r ords of 
Christ to the rich young man : " Go, sell what thou hast, <ind give it to the poor, 
and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven ". Considering these words as addressed 
to himself, he went home and made over to his neighbours his best land, and the 
rest of his estate he sold and gave the price to the poor, except what he thought 
necessary for himself and his sister. Soon after, hearing in the church those other 
words of Christ, " Be not solicitous for to-morrow ", he also distributed in alms the 
moveables which he had reserved, and placed his sister in a house of maidens, which 
is commonly assumed to be the first recorded mention of a nunnery. Antony 
himself retired into solitude, in imitation of a certain old man who led the life of a 
hermit in the neighbourhood. Manual labour, prayer and reading were his whole 
occupation ; and such was his fervour that if he heard of any virtuous recluse, he 
sought him out and endeavoured to take advantage of his example and instruction. 
In this way he soon became a model of humility, charity, prayerfulness and many 
more virtues. 

104 


ST ANTONY THE ABBOT [January 17 

The Devil assailed Antony by various temptations, representing to him first of 
all many good works he might have been able to carry out with his estate in the 
world, and the difficulties of his present condition — a common artifice of the enemy, 
whereby he strives to make a soul dissatisfied in the vocation God has appointed. 
Being repulsed by the young novice, he varied his method of attack, and harassed 
him night and day with gross and obscene imaginations. Antony opposed to his 
assaults the strictest watchfulness over his senses, austere fasts and prayer, till 
Satan, appearing in a visible form, first of a woman coming to seduce him, then of 
a Negro to terrify him, at length confessed himself vanquished. The saint's food 
was only bread, with a little salt, and he drank nothing but water ; he never ate 
before sunset, and sometimes only once in three or four days. When he took his 
rest he lay on a rush mat or the bare floor. In quest of a more remote solitude he 
withdrew to an old burial-place, to which a friend brought him bread from time 
to time. Satan was here again permitted to assault him in a visible manner, and 
to terrify him with gruesome noises ; indeed, on one occasion he so grievously beat 
him that he lay almost dead, and in this condition was found by his friend. When 
he began to come to himself Antony cried out to God, " Where wast thou, my Lord 
and Master ? Why wast thou not here from the beginning of this conflict to render 
me assistance ? " A voice answered, " Antony, I was here the whole time ; I stood 
by thee and beheld thy combat ; and because thou hast manfully withstood thy 
enemies, I will always protect thee, and will render thy name famous throughout 
the earth." 

Hitherto Antony, ever since he turned his back on the world in 272, had lived 
in solitary places not very far from his village of Koman ; and St Athanasius 
observes that before him many fervent persons led retired lives in penance and 
contemplation near the towns, while others followed the same manner of life 
without withdrawing from their fellow creatures. Both were called ascetics, from 
their being devoted to the exercise of mortification and prayer, according to the 
import of the Greek word aoKiqais (practice or training). Even in earlier times 
we find mention made of such ascetics ; and Origen, about the year 249, says they 
abstained from flesh-meat no less than the disciples of Pythagoras. Eusebius tells 
us that St Peter of Alexandria practised austerities equal to those of the ascetics ; 
he says the same of Pamphilus, and St Jerome uses the same expression of Pierius. 
St Antony had led this manner of life near Koman until about the year 285 when, 
at the age of thirty-five, he crossed the eastern branch of the Nile and took up his 
abode in some ruins on the top of a mountain, in which solitude he lived almost 
twenty years, rarely seeing any man except one who brought him bread every six 
months. 

To satisfy the importunities of others, about the year 305, the fifty-fourth of his 
age, he came down from his mountain and founded his first monastery, in the 
Fayum. This originally consisted of scattered cells, but we cannot be sure that 
the various colonies of ascetics which he planted out in this way were all arranged 
upon the same plan. He did not stay permanently with any such community, but 
he visited them occasionally, and St Athanasius tells us how, in order to reach this 
first monastery, he had, both in going and returning, to cross the Arsinoitic canal, 
which was infested by crocodiles. It seems, however, that the distraction of mind 
caused by this intervention in the affairs of his fellow men gave him great scruples, 
and we hear even of a temptation to despair, which he could only overcome by 
prayer and hard manual labour. In this new manner of life his daily sustenance 

J °5 


January 17] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

was six ounces of bread soaked in water, to which he sometimes added a few dates. 
He took it generally after sunset, and in his old age he added a little oil. Sometimes 
he ate only once in three or four days, yet appeared vigorous and always cheerful ; 
strangers knew him from among his disciples by the joy on his countenance, 
resulting from the inward peace of his soul. St Antony exhorted his brethren to 
allot the least time they possibly could to the care of the body, notwithstanding 
which he was careful not to make perfection seem to consist in mortification but in 
the love of God. He instructed his monks to reflect every morning that perhaps 
they might not live till night, and every evening that perhaps they might never see 
the morning ; and to do every action as if it were the last of their lives. " The 
Devil ", he said, " dreads fasting, prayer, humility and good works ; he is not able 
even to stop my mouth who speak against him. His illusions soon vanish, especially 
if a man arms himself with the sign of the cross.' ' He told them that once when 
the Devil appeared to him and said, " Ask what you please ; I am the power of 
God," he invoked the name of Jesus and the tempter vanished. 

In the year 311, when the persecution was renewed under Maximinus, St Antony 
went to Alexandria in order to give courage to the martyrs. He publicly wore his 
white tunic of sheep-skin and appeared in the sight of the governor, yet took care 
never presumptuously to provoke the judges or impeach himself, as some rashly 
did. The persecution having abated, he returned to his monastery, and some time 
after organized another, called Pispir, near the Nile ; but he chose for the most part 
to shut himself up in a cell upon a mountain difficult of access with Macarius, a 
disciple whose duty it was to interview visitors. If he found them to be Hiero- 
solymites, i.e. spiritual men, St Antony himself sat with them in discourse ; if 
Egyptians (by which name they meant worldly persons), then Macarius entertained 
them, and Antony only appeared to give them a short exhortation. Once the saint 
saw in a vision the whole earth covered so thick with snares that it seemed scarce 
possible to set down a foot without being entrapped. At this sight he cried out 
trembling, " Who, Lord, can escape them all ? " A voice answered him, " Humil- 
ity, Antony ! " 

St Antony cultivated a little garden on his desert mountain, but this tillage was 
not the only manual labour in which he employed himself. St Athanasius speaks 
of his making mats as an ordinary occupation. We are told that he once fell into 
dejection, finding uninterrupted contemplation above his strength ; but was taught 
to apply himself at intervals to manual work by an angel in a vision, who appeared 
platting mats of palm-tree leaves, then rising to pray, and after some time sitting 
down again to work, and who at length said to him, " Do thus, and relief shall come 
to thee ". But St Athanasius declares that Antony continued in some degree to 
pray whilst he was at work. He spent a great part of the night in contemplation ; 
and sometimes when the rising sun called him to his daily tasks he complained that 
its visible light robbed him of the greater interior light which he enjoyed when left 
in darkness and solitude. After a short sleep he always rose at midnight, and 
continued in prayer on his knees with his hands lifted to Heaven till sunrise, and 
sometimes till three in the afternoon, so, at least, Palladius informs us in his Lausiac 
History. 

St Antony in the year 339 saw in a vision, under the figure of mules kicking 
down the altar, the havoc which the Arian persecution was to cause two years after 
in Alexandria. So deep was the impression of horror that he would not speak to 
a heretic unless to exhort him to the true faith ; and he drove all such from his 

106 


ST ANTONY THE ABBOT [January 17 

mountain, calling them venomous serpents. At the request of the bishops, about 
the year 355, he took a journey to Alexandria to confute the Arians, preaching that 
God the Son is not a creature, but of the same substance with the Father ; and that 
the Arians, who called him a creature, did not differ from the heathen themselves, 
" who worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator ". All the 
people ran to see him, and rejoiced to hear him ; even the pagans, struck with the 
dignity of his character, flocked around him, saying, " We want to see the man of 
God ". He converted many, and even worked miracles. St Athanasius conducted 
him back as far as the gates of the city, where he cured a girl possessed by an evil 
spirit. Being desired by the governor to make a longer stay in the city, he answered, 
" As fish die if they are taken from the water, so does a monk wither away if "he 
forsake his solitude ". 

St Jerome relates that at Alexandria Antony met the famous Didymus, the 
blind head of the catechetical school there, and exhorted him not to regret overmuch 
the loss of eyes, which were common even to insects, but to rejoice in the treasure 
of that inner light which the apostles enjoyed, by which we see God and kindle the 
fire of His love in our souls. Heathen philosophers and others often went to 
discuss with him, and returned astonished at his meekness and wisdom. When 
certain philosophers asked him how he could spend his time in solitude without 
even the alleviation of books, he replied that nature was his great book and amply 
supplied the lack of all else. When others came to ridicule his ignorance, he asked 
them with great simplicity which was best, good sense or book learning, and which 
had produced the other. The philosophers answered, " Good sense." " This, 
then ", said Antony, " is sufficient of itself." Some others wishing to cavil and 
demanding a reason for his faith in Christ, he put them to silence by showing that 
they degraded the notion of godhead by ascribing to it human passions ; but that 
the humiliation of the Cross is the greatest demonstration of infinite goodness, and 
its ignominy is shown to be the highest glory by Christ's triumphant resurrection 
and by His raising of the dead to life and curing the blind and the sick. St 
Athanasius mentions that he disputed with these Greeks through an interpreter. 
Further, he assures us that no one visited St Antony under any affliction who did 
not return home full of comfort ; and he relates many miraculous cures wrought 
by him and several heavenly visions and revelations. 

About the year 337 Constantine the Great and his two sons, Constantius and 
Constans, wrote a letter to the saint, recommending themselves to his prayers. St 
Antony, seeing his monks surprised, said, " Do not wonder that the emperor writes 
to us, a man even as I am ; rather be astounded that God should have written to us, 
and that He has spoken to us by His Son ". He said he knew not how to answer 
it ; but at last, through the importunity of his disciples, he penned a letter to the 
emperor and his sons, which St Athanasius has preserved, in which he exhorts them 
to constant remembrance of the judgement to come. St Jerome mentions seven 
other letters of St Antony to divers monasteries. A maxim which he frequently 
repeats is, that the knowledge of ourselves is the necessary and only step by which 
we can ascend to the knowledge and love of God. The Bollandists give us a short 
letter of St Antony to St Theodore, abbot of Tabenna, in which he says that God 
had assured him that He showed mercy to all true worshippers of Jesus Christ, 
even though they should have fallen, if they sincerely repented of their sin. A 
monastic rule, which bears St Antony's name, may very possibly preserve the 
general features of his system of ascetic training. In any case, his example and 

107 


January 17] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

instructions have served as a trustworthy rule for the monastic life to all succeeding 
ages. It is related that St Antony, hearing his disciples express surprise at the 
multitudes who embraced the religious state, told them with tears that the time 
would come when monks would be fond of living in cities and stately buildings, of 
eating at well-laden tables, and be only distinguished from persons of the world 
by their dress ; but that still some amongst them would rise to the spirit of true 
perfection. 

St Antony made a visitation of his monks a little before his death, which he 
foretold, but no tears could move him to die among them. It appears from St 
Athanasius that the Christians had begun to imitate the pagan custom of embalming 
the bodies of the dead, an abuse which Antony had often condemned as proceeding 
from vanity and sometimes superstition. He gave orders that he should be buried 
in the earth beside his mountain cell by his two disciples, Macarius and Amathas. 
Hastening back to his solitude on Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea, he some time 
after fell ill ; whereupon he repeated to these disciples his orders that they should 
bury his body secretly in that place, adding, " In the day of the resurrection I shall 
receive it incorruptible from the hand of Christ ". He ordered them to give one 
of his sheep-skins, with the cloak upon which he lay, to the bishop Athanasius, as 
a public testimony of his being united in faith and communion with that holy 
prelate ; to give his other sheep-skin to the bishop Serapion ; and to keep for 
themselves his sackcloth. " Farewell, my children. Antony is departing, and 
will no longer be with you." At these words they embraced him, and he, stretching 
out his feet, without any other sign, calmly ceased to breathe. His death occurred 
in the year 356, probably on January 17, on which day the most ancient martyr- 
ologies commemorate him. He was one hundred and five years old. From 
his youth to that extreme old age he always maintained the same fervour and 
austerity ; yet he lived without sickness, his sight was not impaired, his teeth were 
only worn, not one was lost or loosened. The two disciples interred him ac- 
cording to his directions. About the year 561 his remains are supposed to have 
been discovered and translated to Alexandria, thence to Constantinople, and 
eventually to Vienne, in France. The Bollandists print an account of many 
miracles wrought by his intercession, particularly of those connected with the 
epidemic called St Antony's Fire, which raged violently in many parts of Europe 
in the eleventh century about the time of the translation of his reputed relics 
thither. 

In art St Antony is constantly represented with a taw-shaped crutch or cross, 
a little bell, a pig, and sometimes a book. The crutch, in this peculiarly Egyptian 
T-shaped form of the cross, may be simply an indication of the saint's great age 
and abbatial authority, or it may very possibly have reference to his constant use 
of the sign of the cross, in his conflict with evil spirits. The pig, no doubt, in its 
origin, denoted the Devil, but in the course of the twelfth century it acquired a new 
significance owing to the popularity of the Hospital Brothers of St Antony, founded 
at Clermont in 1096. Their works of charity endeared them to the people, and 
they obtained in many places the privilege of feeding their swine gratuitously upon 
the acorns and beech mast in the woods. For this purpose a bell was attached to 
the neck of one or more sows in a herd of pigs, or possibly their custodians an- 
nounced their coming by ringing a bell. In any case, it seems that the bell became 
associated with the members of the order, and in that way developed into an attri- 
bute of their eponymous patron. The book, no doubt, has reference to the book of 

108 


SS. SPEUSIPPUS, ELEUSIPPUS AND MELEUSIPPUS [January 17 

nature which compensated the saint for the lack of any other reading. We also some- 
times find flames indicated, which are typical of the disease, St Antony's Fire, 
against which the saint was specially invoked.* His popularity, largely due to the 
prevalence of this form of epidemic (see, e.g. the Life of St Hugh of Lincoln), was 
very great in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. He was, in particular, appealed 
to, probably on account of his association with the pig, as the patron of domestic 
animals and farm stock, so that gilds of butchers, brushmakers, etc., placed them- 
selves under his protection. Antony is named in the preparation of the Byzantine 
eucharistic liturgy and in the canon according to the Coptic and Armenian rites. 

The main authority for our knowledge of St Antony is the Life by St Athanasius, the 
authorship of which is now practically undisputed ; there is an English trans, by Dr R. T. 
Meyer in the Ancient Christian Writers series, and others. A very early Latin translation 
of the original Greek was made by Evagrius, and a Syriac version is also known. (On a 
second Latin rendering, see Wilmart, in the Revue Benedictine, 1914, pp. 163-173.) Inter- 
esting supplementary details are also contributed by Palladius in his Historia Lausiaca, 
Cassian, and the later church historians. The literature of the subject is considerable. It 
will be sufficient to refer to Abbot C. Butler, Lausiac History, vol. i, pp. 215-228, and in the 
Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. i, pp. 553-555 ; Hannay, Christian Monasticism, pp. 95 seq., and 
pp. 274 seq. ; H. Leclercq, art. " C£nobitisme ", in the DAC. ; and Fr Cheneau, Saints 
d'Egypte, vol. i, pp. 1 53-181. On the diabolical assaults and temptations which figure so 
prominently in the life, cf. J. Stoffels in Theologie und Glaube, vol. ii (1910), pp. 721 seq., and 
809 seq. Some fragments of what seems to be the original Coptic of three of St Antony's 
letters have been published in the Journal of Theol. Studies, July, 1904, pp. 540-545 ; their 
authenticity is still a matter of dispute. We only know all seven in an imperfect Latin 
translation. The suggestion made by G. Ghedini (Lettere cristiane dei papiri greci, 1923, 
no. 19) that a letter in Greek on a fragment of papyrus in the British Museum is an autograph 
of St Antony, cannot be treated seriously ; see Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xlii (1924),- p. 173. 
See also G. Bardy in the Dictionnaire de spiritualite, vol. i, cc. 702-708 ; L. von Hertling, 
Antonius der Einsiedler (1930) ; B. Lavaud, Antoine le Grand (1943) ; and L. Bouyer, St 
Antoine le Grand (1950), a valuable essay on primitive monastic spirituality. H. Queffelec's 
biography (1950) is " une vie romance ". On the saint in art, see H. Detzel, Christliche 
Ikonographie, vol. ii, pp. 85-88 ; Jameson, Sacred and Legendary Art, vol. ii, pp. 741 seq. ; 
Drake, Saints and Their Emblems, p. 11. In the East St Antony is also greatly vener- 
ated, and religious communities among the Maronites and Chaldeans, and the Orthodox 
monks of Sinai, still profess to follow his rule. See also Reitzenstein, Des Athanasius 
Wcrk iiber das Leben des Antonius (1914) ; and Contzen, Die Regel des hi. Antonius (1896). 
There is no justification for the spelling " Anthony " in this or any other example of the 
name. 

SS. SPEUSIPPUS, ELEUSIPPUS and MELEUSIPPUS, Martyrs 

(A.D. 155 ?) 

These are stated in the Roman Martyrology to have been tergemini y three twin 
brothers, who, with their grandmother, Leonilla (or Neonilla), suffered martyrdom, 
apparently at Langres in France, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The whole 
story seems to present a typical example of a fiction which, written originally for 
edification or mere diversion, has been adopted in all seriousness, and transplanted 
to other lands far from the place of its birth. In its origin the romance is clearly 
connected with Cappadocia, but no early or local cult can be cited to bear out any 
of its incidents. How it happened that the clergy of Langres in the fifth century 

* Called also the " burning sickness ", " hell fire " or " sacred fire ". It was later 
identified with erysipelas (called in Welsh y fendigaid, " the blessed ") ; but it appears 
originally to have been a far more virulent and contagious disorder, caused probably by the 
consumption of flour made from grain damaged by ergot. 

109 


January 17] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

or later came to believe themselves to be in possession of the relics of these martyrs 
cannot now be explained. The relics are supposed to have been further translated, 
at least in part, to the abbey of Ellwangen in Swabia. 

The Latin text of the so-called acts is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January 17. An 
unsatisfactory Greek version has also been printed by Leparev and by Gr£goire, and a 
Georgian paraphrase by Marr. The story has been appealed to in confirmation of the theory, 
first enunciated by Dr Rendel Harris, that the pagan cult of the Dioscuri (the heavenly 
twins, Castor and Pollux) has been transplanted bodily into Christian hagiography (see, 
e.g. H. Gr£goire, Saints jumeaux et dieux cavaliers), a fantastic thesis to which full justice 
has been done by H. Delehaye in the Analecta Bollandiana, vols, xxiii, pp. 427 seq. ; xxiv, 
505 seq. ; xxvi, 334 seq. Cf. also C. Weymann in the Historisches jfahrbuch, vol. xxix, 
PP- 575 seq. 

ST GENULF, or GENOU, Bishop (a.d. 250 ?) 

The early episcopal lists in many French dioceses, as Mgr Duchesne has had 
occasion to point out, are not at all reliable, and the very existence of the bishops 
who, as reputed founders or patrons, are honoured with festivals of the highest 
rank is in some cases a matter of doubt. It seems that the abbey of Strada, founded 
in 828 on the banks of the Indre, acquired in the course of the same century the 
relics of St Genulf, who lived with another monk, St Genitus, at a place now called 
Celles-sur-Nahon. About the year 1000 a document was compiled which de- 
scribed Genulf as sent from Rome with his father, Genitus, in the third century, 
to preach the gospel in Gaul. They came, it is said, to a township (civitas Gitur- 
nicensis), where they stayed a few months, made many converts, and built a church ; 
then they settled in a solitude on the banks of the Nahon, and eventually died there 
surrounded by disciples. There is, however, nothing to identify the Giturnicenses 
with the Cadurcenses (Cahors), and the improbability of anyone with a German 
name like Genulf becoming bishop in Gaul during the third century is extreme. 
From this and other difficulties Mgr Duchesne concludes that the late tradition 
which makes St Genulf the first bishop of Cahors is quite untrustworthy. There 
is no scrap of respectable evidence to justify the statement, neither does the Roman 
Martyrology (June 17) connect " Gundulphus " with Cahors. The feast of St 
Genulf is, nevertheless, kept in that diocese on January 17 as a double of the first 
class. 

See Acta Sanctorum for January 17, and Duchesne, Fastes Jipiscopaux, vol. ii, pp. 126-128. 

ST JULIAN SABAS (a.d. 377) 

In the Roman Martyrology we read on this day : " In the district of Edessa, in 
Mesopotamia (the commemoration) of St Julian, the hermit, called Sabas, who, 
when the Catholic faith at Antioch had almost died out in the time of the Emperor 
Valens, restored it again by the power of his miracles ". Hiding himself from the 
world in a cave in Osrhoene (beside the Euphrates) he practised extraordinary 
asceticism, eating only once in the week. After the expulsion of St Meletius, 
Bishop of Antioch, it was asserted by the heretics in that city that Julian 
Sabas, whose reputation as an ascetic stood high, had embraced Arian doctrines. 
When besought by the orthodox in 372 to come and refute the slander, he com- 
plied, and his presence in Antioch was attended by the most beneficial results. 
When his mission was accomplished he returned to his cave, and died not long 


ST SULPICIUS II, OR SULPICE [January 17 

afterwards. Many stupendous miracles are attributed to him by the Greek hagio- 
graphers. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for October 18, where Theodoret is cited as our most reliable 
source of information. A Syriac version of Theodoret's account has been printed by 
Bedjan ; see Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xvi (1897), p. 184 ; and BHG., nn. 67-68. 

ST SABINUS, Bishop of Piacenza (a.d. 420) 

The letters of St Ambrose to Sabinus bear witness to the close friendship between 
the two bishops, as also to the high reputation for learning which St Sabinus 
enjoyed, for in one letter St Ambrose asks for his criticisms of some treatises which 
he sent to him. He sat in the Council of Aquileia in 381 against the Arians, and 
in that of Milan nine years later against Jovinian. He is probably identical with 
the Sabinus who was a deacon at Milan, and was sent by Pope St Damasus to the 
East in connection with the Arian troubles at Antioch. St Gregory has preserved 
the legend according to which St Sabinus averted a disastrous flood by writing 
down an order and casting the paper into the River Po. The river obeyed, and 
returned to its proper channel. He is said to have died on December 11, 420. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 17. 

ST SULPICIUS II, or SULPICE, Bishop of Bourges (a.d. 647) 

The life of St Sulpicius (Pius), the second bishop of Bourges of that name, which 
is one of the few biographies admitted even by Krusch to be an authentic Merov- 
ingian document, does not supply very much detail, but it must have been composed 
within a few years of the bishop's death, and the sincerity and enthusiasm of the 
writer are unmistakable. Sulpicius was the son of wealthy parents, who renounced 
the idea of marriage and devoted himself even from his youth to all kinds of good 
works, and especially to care for the poor. Being elected bishop, he became the 
father of his people, defended them against the tyranny of Lullo, the minister of 
King Dagobert, and, as the effect of a general fast which he imposed for three days, 
obtained considerate treatment for them under Clovis II, Dagobert's successor. 
Various miracles, notably the extinction of a great conflagration by making the sign 
of the cross over it, were attributed to him during his life, and many more took 
place beside his tomb after death. 

The chronological data are scanty, but we know that St Sulpicius attended the 
Council of Clichy in 627, and that he exchanged letters frequently with St Didier 
of Cahors, whom he had consecrated bishop in 630. His austerity of life was 
remarkable. He spent much of the night in prayer, fasted continually, and recited 
the entire psalter each day. By the force of his example and his exhortations the 
whole Jewish population of Bourges was converted to Christianity. Towards the 
end of his days, finding that he could no longer give the same amount of time to 
the care of the poor and afflicted whom he loved, Sulpicius obtained leave from the 
king to appoint another bishop in his place, in order that he himself might have 
more leisure for his works of charity. His death, in 647, was followed by extra- 
ordinary scenes of which his biographer was evidently an eye-witness. He com- 
pares the outcry and lamentations heard on all sides to the rumbling of thunder, 
and tells us that at his obsequies the vast throng of people, throwing themselves 
flat on the ground in their sorrow and despair, rendered it almost impossible for 

in 


January 17] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the clergy to carry out the offices. " O good shepherd ", they cried, " guardian of 
thy people, why dost thou forsake us ? To whom this day dost thou leave us ? " 
Though the times are far removed from our own, the sketch which his biographer 
has left us gives an impression of such charity, zeal and strict observance as seems 
befitting in the patron of that famous Paris seminary which was afterwards to bear 
his name. 

The most reliable text of the life has been printed by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores 
Merov. f vol. iv, pp. 364-380, from MS. Addit. 11880, of the ninth century, in the British 
Museum. See also the Acta Sanctorum, January 17, Duchesne, Fastes Episcopaux, vol. ii, 
pp 28-29, and BHL., n. 1146. "Pius" is an epithet to distinguish Sulpicius from a 
namesake. 

ST RICHIMIR, Abbot (c. a.d. 715) 

Much obscurity overshadows the memory of St Richimir. His name is omitted 
from the martyrologies. Nothing is known of the place of his burial, while the 
country which he sanctified has long since abandoned devotion to him. For- 
tunately a contemporary life has been preserved. The anonymous author relates 
how St Richimir, while not yet in orders, went to Gilbert, Bishop of Le Mans, and 
asked permission to settle in his diocese, together with a few followers, and to 
found a monastery under the Rule of St Benedict. The bishop gladly assented, 
and offered him a suitable property. But Richimir preferred wild and desolate 
land which had yet to be cultivated. Having been ordained, he set out for the 
Loire and built a cell near the river. When the bishop heard of his great poverty, 
he gladly sent him the necessaries of life, although Richimir accepted these only 
reluctantly. Apparently the position was not suitable, for he abandoned it and 
selected a place not far distant, called later Saint-Rigomer-des-Bois. There he 
built a church in honour of the Apostles, and founded a monastery over which he 
ruled as abbot till his death about 715. 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 17, and Mabillon, vol. iii, part i, pp. 228-232. 

BD ROSELINE, Virgin (a.d. 1329) 

This holy Carthusian nun, Roseline de Villeneuve, was of very distinguished 
ancestry. Her father was Baron des Arcs, and her mother was a de Sabran. She 
had to overcome strong family opposition before she could finally execute her 
purpose of consecrating herself to God. She had been educated by the nuns of 
St Clare, but found her own vocation in following the austere Carthusian rule. 
She seems to have been received in the convent of Bertrand at the age of twenty-five, 
and twelve years later was made prioress of Celle Roubaud, in Provence, where she 
died, January 17, 1329. She occasionally passed a whole week together without 
taking food ; she punished herself with terrible disciplines, and never gave more 
than three or four hours to sleep. She used to teach her nuns to have a great dread 
of those words, " I know you not ", in order that they might make sure of hearing 
the greeting, " Come, ye blessed of my Father." When Roseline was asked what 
was the best means of getting to Heaven, she often replied, " To know oneself ". 
She had frequent visions and ecstasies, and possessed an extraordinary gift of 
reading the hearts of all who came to her. Her body was indescribably beautiful 
after death, and no sign of rigidity or corruption appeared in it. Five years 
afterwards it was still perfectly preserved, and the ecclesiastic who presided at the 

112 


ST PETER'S CHAIR AT ROME [January 18 

exhumation thought the living appearance of the eyes so wonderful that he had 
them enucleated and kept in a reliquary apart. The body was still quite entire a 
hundred years later, and the eyes had neither shrivelled nor decayed as late as 1644. 
Her cultus was confirmed in 1851. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for June 11 ; Le Couteulx, Annales Ordinis Cartusiensis, vol. v, 
pp. 262-268 ; ViJleneuve-Flayose, Histoire de Ste Roseline de Villeneuve (1866). 


18 


• ST PETER'S CHAIR AT ROME 


ST PETER, having triumphed over Satan in the East, pursued the enemy 
to Rome with unabated energy. He who had formerly trembled at the voice 
of a servant-maid, now feared not the stronghold of idolatry and superstition. 
The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal 
of the leader of the Apostles. The Roman empire had extended its dominion 
beyond that of any former monarchy, and the influence of its metropolis was of the 
greatest human importance for the spread of Christ's gospel. St Peter claimed 
that province for himself ; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and 
established his episcopal chair, and from him the bishops of Rome in all ages have 
derived their succession. That SS. Peter and Paul founded that church is expressly 
asserted by Caius, a priest of Rome under Pope St Zephyrinus (quoted by Eusebius, 
Hist, eccl.y bk ii, c. 25), who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican hill, 
and that of his fellow-labourer, St Paul, on the Ostian road. That he and St Paul 
planted the faith in Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom there, is affirmed 
by St Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in the second century. St Irenaeus, in the 
same century, calls the church at Rome " The greatest and most ancient church, 
founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." 

Nevertheless, doubt has been cast upon the historical fact of St Peter's presence 
in Rome. It is pointed out that no clear contemporary statement can be adduced 
in proof of his residence there, that the Acts of the Apostles suggest nothing of the 
kind, that the only thing we know concerning his later life is that his own first 
epistle was written from " Babylon ", that the so-called Roman tradition is inex- 
tricably mixed up with fabulous legends about Simon Magus which no serious 
scholar would now dream of defending, and that the twenty-five years' Roman 
episcopate, attributed to St Peter with a quite suspicious unanimity by later 
historians such as Eusebius, cannot be reconciled with the other data they supply 
and with the complete silence of St Paul concerning his fellow apostle in his Epistle 
to the Romans. But these difficulties have been duly considered and answered 
not only by Catholic apologists, but by eminent Anglicans such as Bishop Lightfoot, 
Professor C. H. Turner and Dr George Edmundson, as well as by Lutherans of 
the standing of Harnack and Zahn. The grounds upon which the Roman tradition 
is based are stated concisely and clearly by the Anglican Dr F. H. Chase, Bishop of 
Ely, in the following passage : 

The strength of the case for St Peter's visit to and martyrdom at Rome lies 
not only in the absence of any rival tradition, but also in the fact that many 
streams of evidence converge to this result. We have the evidence of official 
lists and documents of the Roman church, which prove the strength of the 

113 


January 18] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

tradition in later times, and which, at least in some cases, must rest on earlier 
documents. The notice of the transference of the apostle's body to a new 
resting-place in 258, and the words of Caius, show that the tradition was 
definite and unquestioned at Rome in the first half of the third century. The 
fact that Caius is arguing with an Asiatic opponent, the evidence of the [gnostic] 
Acts of Peter, the passages quoted from Origen, Clement of Alexandria and 
Tertullian, show that at the same period the tradition was accepted in the 
churches of Asia, of Alexandria and Carthage. The passage of Irenaeus 
carries the evidence backward well within the second century, and is of special 
importance, as coming from one who had visited Rome, whose list of Roman 
bishops suggests that he had had access to official documents, and who through 
Polycarp was in contact with the personal knowledge of St John and his 
companions. 

Further, Dr Chase went on to point out that the close association of the mar- 
tyrdom of St Peter with that of St Paul in the reference made to them by St Clement, 
pope at the end of the first century, in the unquestionably genuine letter he wrote 
to the church of Corinth, forms a strong presumption that he, who must have 
known the truth, identified both apostles equally with Rome. Dr Chase's article 
was written in 1900, and since then much fresh evidence has come to light. It will 
be noticed that he refers to the transference of the apostle's body to a new resting 
place in 258. We cannot affirm that this translation, which was in any case only 
temporary, is a certain fact. 

The historical weight of this tradition was affirmed in eloquent terms by another 
Anglican divine, Dr George Edmundson, in a Bampton lecture given before the 
University of Oxford in 19 13, wherein he states that " a tradition accepted univer- 
sally and without a single dissentient voice associates the foundation and organiza- 
tion of the church of Rome with the name of St Peter, and speaks of his active 
connection with the church as extending over a period of some twenty-five years ". 
" It is needless ", he goes on, " to multiply references. In Egypt and in Africa, 
in the East and in the West, no other place ever disputed with Rome the honour of 
being the see of St Peter ; no other place ever claimed that he died there, or that 
it possessed his tomb. Most significant of all is the consensus of the oriental, 
non-Greek-speaking churches. A close examination of Armenian and Syriac 
manuscripts . . . through several centuries has failed to discover a single writer 
who did not accept the Roman Petrine tradition." 

It was undoubtedly an ancient custom throughout the West to keep as a festival 
the anniversary of the consecration of the bishop. St Augustine has a treatise 
de natali episcopi, and St Leo three sermons of which the subject is the natalis 
cathedrae, " the birthday ", or anniversary, " of the chair " (i.e. of his installation 
as bishop). That some commemoration of St Peter's enthronement as bishop of 
Rome should have been observed from an early date was to be expected. In point 
of fact, our calendar now contains, and has contained for more than a thousand years 
past, two entries which recall the memory of St Peter's connection with the episcopal 
office. That of the day with which we are now concerned is expressly referred to 
" the chair on which he first sat in Rome " ; that of February 22 professes to com- 
memorate his earlier ministry in Antioch. As the result of much investigation and 
debate the conclusion now more generally adopted is that there was originally 

114 


ST PRISCA [January 18 

only one feast of St Peter's chair ; further, that this was kept on February 22, 
and had no reference to Antioch, but only to the beginning of his episcopate 
at Rome.* It seems, then, that any discussion of the rather complicated 
problem of the duplication of the feast may most fittingly be reserved for 
February 22. 

For the present it will be sufficient to point out that, in the view of some 
archaeologists, the material relic known as " St Peter's chair ", which is now pre- 
served in a casing of bronze by Bernini over the apsidal altar of St Peter's basilica 
in Rome, must be regarded as an important element in the development of these 
feasts. Some lay stress upon the fact that St Paul (Rom. xvi 5) sends greetings to 
" the church which is at the house of Prisca and Aquila ", seeming to point to some 
primitive meeting-place of a community of Roman Christians, and they urge that 
such a portable chair as the relic in question might naturally have been used as an 
improvised bishop's stool in a private house. This might, then, have been " the 
chair on which St Peter first sat in Rome ", though after a few years some more 
spacious place of assembly may have been provided in which a permanent seat 
could be constructed. It is, in any case, curious that the house of Prisca and Aquila 
seems to have developed in course of time into the still existing church of St Prisca 
on the Aventine, and that the feast of the dedication of this church was kept on 
February 22. On the other hand, a St Prisca, martyr, is commemorated on this 
day, January 18. But obviously nothing more than vague conjectures can be based 
on indications of this kind. All that we definitely know is that since the end of the 
sixth century, when the Auxerre redaction of the so-called Martyrologium Hiero- 
nymianum was compiled, the feast of " St Peter's chair at Rome " has been honoured 
pretty generally throughout the West on this day. 

In a Motu Proprio of John XXIII dated July 25, I960, this feast was 
dropped from the Roman Calendar. 

See F. Cabrol in DAC, vol. iii, cc. 76-90 ; CMH., pp. 45-46, 109 ; and L. Duchesne, 
Christian Worship (1919), pp. 277-280. Cf. herein St Peter, June 29, and his Chair at 
Antioch, February 22. 

ST PRISCA, Virgin and Martyr (Date Unknown) 

Great confusion and uncertainty prevail regarding the saint who is commemorated 
on this day under the name of Prisca. On the one hand, it is unquestionable that 
the so-called " acts ", dating at earliest from the tenth century, are historically 
worthless, for they simply reproduce, with slight changes, the legendary Passion 
of St Tatiana. On the other hand, there was, beyond doubt, a genuine and early 
cultus in Rome of at least one St Prisca, or Priscilla. The itineraries nearly all 
mention her as a martyr, and indicate the place of her interment in the catacomb of 
Priscilla on the Via Salaria. Moreover, as stated above in connection with St 
Peter's chair, there is a church on the Aventine dedicated to St Prisca which 
furnishes a cardinalitial title, and which, from the fourth to the eighth century, was 
known as the titulus S. Priscae, but later (c. 800) as titulus Aquilae et Priscae. This 
last designation clearly refers to the Aquila and his wife, Prisca, of whom we read 
more than once in the New Testament in connection with St Paul. The husband 
and wife, however, are commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on July 8, and 
are there assigned to Asia Minor. Many conjectures have been made to elucidate 
the problem, and in particular it has been pointed out that Prisca seems to have 

* In the Benedictine calendar, approved in 191 5, the two " chair " feasts have been 
subsumed in one, St Peter' Chair, on February 22. 

"5 


January 18] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

been a favourite name among the Acilii Glabriones, and also that the name which 
is written in Latin as Aquila appears in Greek as 'AkvXcls ; but no clear solution 
has yet been arrived at. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 18 ; Marucchi in Nuovo Bullettino di archeol. crist., 
vol. xiv (1908), pp. 5 seq. ; Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, vols, i, pp. 501, 517 ; ii, 201 ; Pio 
Franchi de' Cavalieri in the Romische Quarialschrift, 1903, p. 223 ; and De Rossi, Roma Softer- 
ranea, vol. i, p. 176. 

ST VOLUSIAN, Bishop of Tours (a.d. 496) 

Volusian, who was, it is stated, of senatorial rank, occupied the see of Tours from 
488 to 496. From a letter addressed to him by Ruricius, Bishop of Limoges, which 
is couched in not very friendly terms, it would seem that Volusian was married 
(it must be remembered that the discipline of sacerdotal celibacy had not at this 
date been enforced even in the West), and that his wife had a temper which was a 
terror to all their acquaintance. Volusian had apparently complained that he lived 
in fear of the Goths. Ruricius replied, with an obvious reference to this early Mrs 
Proudie, that a man who could encourage an enemy in his own household had no 
business to be afraid of enemies from outside (timere hostem non debet extraneum 
qui consuevit sustinere dotnesticum). We learn from Gregory of Tours that Volusian 
was in the end driven from his see by the Goths, who suspected him of wishing to 
come to terms with the Franks, and that going into exile in Spain he died soon 
afterwards. Later accounts state that he was further attacked by his persecutors 
and decapitated, and it is probably on the ground of this supposed martyrdom that 
he has been honoured as a saint. 

See the Acta Sancrum, January 18 ; MGH., Auctores antiquissimi, vol. viii, p. 350 ; 
Duchesne, Fastes Episcopaux, vol. ii, p. 301 ; and H. Thurston in The Month, June, 191 1, 
pp. 642-644. 

ST DEICOLUS, or DESLE, Abbot (c. a.d. 625) 

He quitted Ireland, his native country, with St Columban and lived with him at 
Luxeuil ; but when his master left France, he founded the abbey of Lure, in the 
diocese of Besancon, where he ended his days as a hermit. Amidst his austerities 
the joy and peace of his soul appeared in his countenance. St Columban once said 
to him in his youth, " Deicolus, why are you always smiling ? " He answered in 
simplicity, " Because no one can take God from me." He died probably in the 
year 625. 

See his life and the history of his miracles in Mabillon, vol. ii, pp. 102-116, and MGH., 
Scriptores, vol. xv f pp. 675-682, both written by a monk of Lure in the tenth century. This 
saint is often called Deicola, but in ancient MSS. Deicolus. In Franche-Comte' the French 
version of his name, Desle, used frequently to be given in baptism. See also Gougaud, 
Gaelic Pioneers of Christianity, pp. 134-135 ; M. Stokes, Forests of France, p. 177, etc. ; 
LIS., vol. i, p. 301 ; and J. Giradot, La vie de St Desle (1947). 

BD BEATRICE D'ESTE OF FERRARA, Widow (a.d. 1262) 

This nun was the niece of another Bd Beatrice d'Este, of Gemmola, whose 
feast is kept on May 10. We have no full account of the life of Beatrice the 
younger, and it is not even quite certain whether she had been married or not 
before she consecrated her life to God in the Benedictine convent of St Antony 

116 


SS. MARIUS, MARTHA, AUDIFAX AND ABACHUM [January 19 

at Ferrara, a convent which appears to have been founded at her special desire 
by the powerful family to which she belonged. She lived and died in the 
repute of great holiness, and it was stated in the seventeenth century that from 
the marble tomb in which her remains were enshrined an oily liquid still 
exuded which worked many surprising miracles of healing. The cultus of 
this Beatrice, which had always been maintained at Ferrara, was confirmed in 
1774- 

In an appendix to the January section of the Acta Sanctorum the Bollandists printed such 
fragments of information as they were able to collect concerning Bd Beatrice. See also the 
Analecta Juris Pontificii for 1880, p. 668. 

BD CHRISTINA OF AQUILA, Virgin (a.d. 1543) 

The family name of this Christina was Ciccarelli, and when she was born in 
the Abruzzi she received in baptism the name of Matthia. Entering the 
convent of Augustinian hermitesses at Aquila at an early age, she was there 
called Sister Christina. In the cloister she showed herself a model of virtue, 
but she was especially remarkable for her humility and love of the poor. 
She gave long hours to prayer, was often rapt in ecstasy, and seemed to possess 
a knowledge of future events. She is also said to have practised severe penance, 
and to have worked many miracles, but our information about her is scanty. 
When she died on January 18, 1543, it is stated that the children of Aquila 
went through the town proclaiming the news of her death by " shouting and 
singing ", with the result that an enormous concourse of people attended her 
obsequies. The cultus paid to her from time immemorial was confirmed in 
1 841. 

See P. Seebock, Die Herrlichkeit der katholischen Kirche (1900), p. 297, and biographical 
details in the decree of confirmation. 


19 


• SS. MARIUS, MARTHA, AUDIFAX and ABACHUM, Martyrs 

(c. A.D. 260) 

MARIUS (Maris), a nobleman of Persia, with his wife Martha, and two 
sons, Audifax and Abachum, being converted to the faith, distributed 
his fortune among the poor, as the primitive Christians did at Jerusalem, 
and came to Rome to visit the tombs of the apostles. The Emperor Claudius was 
then persecuting the Church, and by his order a great number of Christians were 
driven into the amphitheatre, shot to death with arrows, and their bodies burnt. 
Our saints gathered and buried their ashes with respect ; for which they were 
apprehended, and after many torments under the governor Marcian, Marius and 
his two sons were beheaded ; Martha was drowned, thirteen miles from Rome, at 
a place now called Santa Ninfa. They were buried on the Via Cornelia, and they 
are mentioned with distinction in all the western martyrologies on January 20 ; 
but their feast is kept to-day. 

We cannot place any great confidence in the " acts " of these martyrs, but the document 
is not contemptible ; they have been printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January 19. See also 
Allard, Histoire des Persecutions, vol. iii, pp. 214 seq. ; and BHL., n« 5543. 

117 


January 19] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST GERMANICUS, Martyr (a.d. 155 ?) 

We know nothing of St Germanicus beyond what we learn from the letter of the 
Christians of Smyrna who, writing of the persecution which led to the arrest of 
St Polycarp, tell us : " But thanks be to God ; for He verily prevailed against all. 
For the right noble Germanicus encouraged their timorousness through the con- 
stancy which was in him, and he fought with the wild beasts in a signal way. For 
when the proconsul wished to prevail upon him, and bade him have pity on his 
youth, he used violence and dragged the wild beast towards him, desiring the more 
speedily to obtain release from their unrighteous and lawless way of living. So, 
after this, all the multitude marvelling at the bravery of the God-beloved and 
God-fearing people of the Christians, raised a cry, ' Away with the atheists ! Look 
for Polycarp ! ' " This narrative, however, may count as one of the most authentic 
memorials now extant of the history of the early Christian Church. Eusebius, in 
his Historia Ecclesiastica, quotes the passage, and we possess the complete text 
independently. It is also noteworthy that Germanicus actually did what St 
Ignatius of Antioch expresses his intention of doing {ad Rom. 5) — viz. he provoked 
the wild beast to attack him that he might be released the sooner from the ungodly 
companionship of the pagans and Jews amongst whom he lived. It is noteworthy 
that the Roman Martyrology also directs our thoughts to the example of St Ignatius 
by saying that Germanicus, " who was ground by the teeth of the beast, merited 
to be one with the true bread, the Lord Jesus Christ, by dying for His sake ". 

See Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, part ii, vol. iii, p. 478 ; Delehaye, Les passions des 
martyrs . . . (1921), pp. 12 seq., and Acta Sanctorum, January 19. On the date, see note 
to St Polycarp herein, under January 26. 

ST NATHALAN, Bishop (a.d. 678) 

The curiously extravagant legend of St Nathalan, whose cult was confirmed by 
Pope Leo XIII in 1898, and whose feast is now kept at Aberdeen on January 19, 
cannot be better given than in the words of the Aberdeen breviary : " Nathalan is 
believed to have been born in the northern parts of the Scotti, in ancient times, at 
Tullicht in the diocese of Aberdeen ; a man of great sanctity, who, after he had 
come to man's estate and been imbued with the liberal arts, devoted himself and 
his wholly to divine contemplation. And when he learned that amongst the works 
of man's hands the cultivation of the soil approached nearest to divine contempla- 
tion, though educated in a noble family with his own hands he practised the lowly 
art of tilling the fields, abandoning ail other occupations that his mind might never 
be sullied by the impure solicitations of the flesh. Meanwhile, as he warred against 
the Devil and the perishing world, a terrible famine broke out among his neighbours, 
relations and friends, so that almost the whole people were in danger of perishing 
by hunger. But God's saint, Nathalan, moved by the greatest pity, distributed all 
his grain and whatever else he had, for the name of Christ, to the poor ; but when 
the time of spring came, when all green things are committed to the bowels of the 
earth, not having aught to sow in the land which he cultivated, by divine revelation 
he ordered it all to be strewn and sown with sand, from which sand thus sown a 
great crop of all kinds of grain grew up and was greatly multiplied. 

" But in the time of harvest, when many people of both sexes were collected 
by him to gather in the crop, there came a tempest of rain and a whirlwind, so that 

118 


ST ALBERT OF CASHEL [January 19 

these husbandmen and women were forced to abstain from labour. Therefore he, 
excited by anger, along with the other reapers murmured a little against God ; but 
on the tempest abating, feeling that he had offended Him, in a spirit of penance he 
bound his right hand to his leg with an iron lock and key, and forthwith threw the 
key into the river Dee, making a solemn vow that he would never unlock it until he 
had visited the thresholds of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul ; which actually 
took place. 

" Having entered the City, approaching in meditation the monuments of the 
saints which are there on every side, and bewailing his sin, he worshipped the 
Creator whom he had heretofore offended. As he went through the chief places 
of the city he met a naked boy carrying a little fish for sale, which he purchased at a 
low price. By the divine power he found in its belly the key, unrusted, which he 
had flung into the Dee, and with it he opened the lock upon his leg. But the 
Supreme Pontiff, informed of this mighty wonder, summoned him as a man of 
superior holiness into his presence, and made him, in spite of his reluctance, a 
bishop. Rendering himself dear to all in Rome where he practised divine contem- 
plation for many years, Nathalan, not forgetful even to extreme old age of his 
native soil, by permission of the Roman pontiff returned to that part of Scotland 
whence he sprang. Having built the churches of Tullicht, Bothelin and Colle at 
his own expense, he dedicated them to Almighty God, and they still exist in these 
provinces, dedicated in his honour. After many remarkable miracles blessed 
Nathalan, full of the grace of God, on the 6th of the Ides of January (January 8) 
commended his soul to our Lord, and went up into Heaven on high ; and being 
buried with great veneration at Tullicht, he affords health to the sick who piously 
come to invoke his aid." 

St Nathalan is commemorated in the Irish martyrologies, e.g. those of Oengus and 
Gorman. See KSS., pp. 417-419 ; and LIS., vol. i, pp. 121 seq. 

ST ALBERT OF CASHEL, Bishop (Seventh Century ?) 

The greatest obscurity shrouds the history of this saint. He is commonly called 
archbishop of Cashel and is honoured as patron of that diocese, but it is almost 
certain that no such see existed at the date assigned to him. A Latin life, written 
apparently in the twelfth century, describes him as natione Anglus, conversations 
angelus (an Englishman by race, an angel in conduct). We are told that he was 
visited in England by St Erhard, himself an Irishman and already bishop of Ardagh. 
Albert accompanied him back to Ireland, and in passing through Cashel, which 
for two years had been without a bishop, the people by acclamation elected Albert 
to that dignity. He had, however, only been consecrated for a short time when, 
during a council at Lismore, he was induced by an eloquent sermon to renounce 
all his honours and possessions. Together with his friend Erhard and a band of 
disciples he fled away to lead a pilgrim's life on the continent. They came to 
Rome in the time of Pope Formosus (891-896), and were welcomed by him and 
encouraged in their good purposes. Then they separated, and Albert for his part 
travelled to Jerusalem. On his return he had a longing to see his friend Erhard 
again, but on coming to Ratisbon found him already dead. Albert prayed that 
God might take him also, and he died there not many hours afterwards. In this 
narrative there is no mention of any actual relationship with Erhard, but other 
accounts represent him as Albert's brother, and in fact mention a third brother, 

119 


January 19] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Hildulf, who was archbishop of Trier. But the whole story is fabulous. Whatever 
authentic information we have about St Erhard points to his having lived in the 
seventh century. He cannot, therefore, have visited Rome in the time of Pope 
Formosus nearly two hundred years later. St Albert's feast is kept throughout 
Ireland. 

The Life of St Albert has been edited by W. Levison in the MGH., Scriptores Merov., 
vol. vi, pp. 21-23. See also the Acta Sanctorum, January 8 ; and LIS., vol. i, pp. 102-113. 

ST FILLAN, or FOELAN, Abbot (Eighth Century) 

St Fillan's name is famous in the Scottish and Irish calendars, and his feast is 
still kept in the diocese of .Dunkeld, now on this day. The example and instruc- 
tions of his parents, Feriach and St Kentigerna, inspired him from the cradle with 
an ardent love of virtue. In his youth, despising the worldly prospects to which 
high birth entitled him, he received the monastic habit and passed many years in 
a cell at some distance from a monastery not far from Saint Andrew's. He was 
constrained to leave this solitude by being elected abbot. His sanctity in this office 
shone forth with a bright light. After some years he resigned this charge, and 
retired to a mountainous part of Glendochart in Perthshire, where with the assist- 
ance of seven others he built a church, near which he served for several years. God 
glorified him by a wonderful gift of miracles, and called him to the reward of his 
labours on January 9, probably early in the eighth century. He was buried in 
Strathfillan, and his relics were long preserved there with honour. 

This account, as Butler tells us, is based upon that given in the Aberdeen 
Breviary. He does not, however, reproduce any of the very extravagant incidents 
which are there connected with the saint. For example, we are told that Fillan 
immediately after his birth was thrown by his father into a lake, and remained there 
a whole year tended by angels, also that when he was building his church a wolf 
killed the ox that used to drag the materials to the spot, whereupon through Fillan's 
prayers the wolf returned and drew the cart in the ox's place. Evidently not much 
trust can be placed in historical materials of this description. On the other hand, 
it must be said that St Fillan's name appears on January 9 in the Martyrology of 
Oengus (a.d. 804), and in nearly all other Irish and Scottish martyrologies and 
calendars ; that the honour paid to him was very widespread, for Robert Bruce 
had with him a relic of the saint at the battle of Bannockburn, to which, according 
to Hector Boece, he attributed the victory ; and that the crosier and bell believed 
to have belonged to him are still in existence. The name is spelt in several 
ways. 

Fillan's mother, St Kentigerna, is commemorated on January 7 in the Aber- 
deen Breviary, from which we learn that she was of royal blood, daughter of Cellach, 
Prince of Leinster. After the death of her husband she left Ireland, and consecrated 
herself to God in a religious state. After living in great austerity and humility, 
she died on January 7, in the year 734 according to the Annals of Ulster. 

See KSS., pp. 341-346 ; LIS., vol. i, pp. 134-144 ; and the Acta Sanctorum, January 9. 
As for St Kentigerna, Adam King informs us that a famous parish church bears her name 
on Tuch Cailleach (in Loch Lomond), a small island to which she retired some time before 
her death. See the Aberdeen Breviary ; Colgan, Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae, vol. i, p. 22 ; 
and KSS., p. 373. The " Martyrology " — Felire — of Oengus referred to above is often 
mentioned in these notes : cf. St Oengus on March 11. 

I20 


ST WULFSTAN [January 19 

ST CANUTE OF DENMARK, Martyr (ad. 1086) 

St Canute (Cnut) of Denmark was a natural son of Swein Estrithson, whose uncle 
Canute had reigned in England. He advanced a claim to the crown of that country, 
but his attempt on Northumbria in 1075 was a complete failure ; in 1081 he 
succeeded his brother Harold as king of Denmark. The Danes had received the 
Christian faith some time before, but, as has been said of Canute of England, their 
" religious enthusiasm was quaintly tinged with barbarian naivete". Perhaps the 
word " tinged " is hardly strong enough. Canute II married Adela, sister of 
Robert, Count of Flanders, by whom he had a son, Bd Charles the Good. He 
enacted several laws for the administration of justice and in restraint of the jarls y 
granted privileges and immunities to the clergy, and exacted tithes for their sub- 
sistence ; unfortunately one effect of his activities was to make some churchmen 
feudal lords who gave more attention to their temporal than to their spiritual profit 
and duties. Canute showed a royal magnificence in building and endowing 
churches, and gave the crown which he wore to the church of Roskilde, which 
became the burial-place of the Danish kings. 

In 1085 Canute reasserted his claim to England, and made extensive prepara- 
tions for invasion, in concert with Robert of Flanders and Olaf of Norway. The 
enterprise was brought to nothing by disputes with his jarls and people. They 
were becoming more and more restive under his imposition of taxes, tithes and a 
new social order, and under his brother Olaf they broke into open rebellion. 
Canute fled to the island of Fiinen, and took refuge in the church of St Alban at 
Odense (said to have its name from a relic brought from England by Canute). 
When the insurgents surrounded the church he confessed his sins and received 
communion ; an attack was begun, bricks and stones being thrown through the 
windows, and eventually the king was killed as he knelt before the altar. His 
brother Benedict and seventeen others perished with him. This happened on 
July 10, 1086. 

Aelnoth, Canute's biographer, a monk of Canterbury who had spent twenty-four 
years in Denmark, goes on to tell us that God attested the sanctity of the slain 
monarch by many miraculous healings of the sick at his tomb, for which reason 
his relics were taken up and honourably enshrined. Canute's second successor, 
Eric III, having sent to Rome evidence of the miracles wrought there, Pope Paschal 
II authorized the veneration of St Canute, though it is not easy to see upon what 
his claim to martyrdom rests. Aelnoth adds that the first preachers of Christianity 
in Denmark and Scandinavia were Englishmen, and that the Swedes were the most 
difficult to convert. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. iii ; C. Gertz, Vitae Sanctorum Danorum, pp. 27-168, 
53 I_ 558 ; and B. Schmeidler in Neues Archiv, 191 2, pp. 67-97. Cf. also E. A. Freeman's 
Norman Conquest, vol. iv, pp. 249, 586, 689 ; and F. M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England 
(1943), PP- 603, 608-609. 

ST WULFSTAN, Bishop of Worcester (a.d. 1095) 

Wulfstan (Wulstan) was a native of Long Itchington, in Warwickshire. From 
early youth he loved purity, and on one occasion, believing himself to have offended 
by watching a woman dancing, he withdrew into a thicket and, lying prostrate, be- 
wailed his fault with such sorrow that henceforth he had such constant watchfulness 

121 


January 19] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

over his senses that he was nevermore troubled with the like temptations. He 
made his studies in the monastery of Evesham and afterwards at Peterborough, 
and put himself under the direction of Brihtheah, Bishop of Worcester, by whom 
he was advanced to the priesthood. Having been distracted while celebrating Mass 
by the smell of meat roasting in the kitchen, he bound himself never to eat of it 
again. Not long after he became a novice in the great monastery at Worcester, 
where he was remarkable for the innocence and sanctity of his life. The first 
charge with which he was entrusted was instructing the children. He was after- 
wards made precentor, and then treasurer of the church, but he continued to devote 
himself to prayer, and watched whole nights in the church. It was only in despite 
of his strenuous resistance that he was made prior of Worcester and, in 1062, bishop 
of that see. Though not very learned, he delivered the word of God so impres- 
sively and feelingly as often to move his audience to tears. To his energy in 
particular is attributed the suppression of a scandalous practice which prevailed 
among the citizens of Bristol of kidnapping men into slavery and shipping them 
over to Ireland. He always recited the psalter whilst he travelled, and never passed 
by any church or chapel without going in to pray before the altar. 

When the Conqueror deprived the English of their ecclesiastical and secular 
dignities in favour of his Normans, Wulfstan retained his see, an exception which 
later writers explain by a supposed miraculous intervention of Providence. In a 
synod held at Westminster, over which Archbishop Lanfranc presided, Wulfstan 
was called upon to surrender his crosier and ring, upon pretext of his simplicity 
and unfitness for business. The saint owned himself unworthy of the charge, but 
said that King Edward the Confessor had compelled him to take it upon him, and 
that he would deliver his crosier to him alone. Thereupon, going to the king's 
tomb, he struck his crosier into the stone ; and then went and sat down among 
the monks. No one was able to draw the crosier out till the saint was ordered to 
take it again, when it followed his hand with ease. 

Be that as it may, after an initial uncertainty King William recognized Wulf- 
stan's worth and treated him with respect and trust. Lanfranc even commissioned 
him to make the visitation of the diocese of Chester as his deputy. When any 
English complained of the oppression of the Normans, Wulfstan used to tell them, 
" This is a scourge of God for our sins, which we must bear with patience ". He 
caused young gentlemen who were brought up under his care to carry in the dishes 
and wait on the poor at table, to teach them the true spirit of humility, in which 
he himself set an example. Wulfstan rebuilt his cathedral at Worcester, c. 1086, 
but he loved the old edifice which had to be demolished. " The men of old ", he 
said, " if they had not stately buildings were themselves a sacrifice to God, whereas 
we pile up stones, and neglect souls." He died in 1095, having sat as bishop 
thirty-two years, and lived about eighty-seven. Dr W. Hunt, in the Dictionary of 
National Biography, writes : " Wulfstan was, so far as is known, a faultless char- 
acter, and, save that he knew no more than was absolutely necessary for the dis- 
charge of his duties, a pattern of all monastic and of all episcopal virtues as they 
were then understood ". He was canonized in 1203, and his feast is now kept in 
the dioceses of Birmingham, Clifton and Northampton. 

The details of St Wulfstan's life are fairly well known to us from a number of short 
biographies. Those by Hemming and William of Malmesbury are printed by Wharton in 
his Anglia Sacra, that of Capgrave by the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum for January 19. 
We also obtain a good deal of information from chroniclers like Florence of Worcester and 

122 


BD ANDREW OF PESCHIERA [January 19 

Simeon of Durham. See also Freeman's Norman Conquest, vols, iv and v passim ; D. 
Knowles, The Monastic Order in England (1949), pp. 1 59-161 and passim ; R. R. Darlington, 
The Vita Wulfstani of William of Malmesbury (Camden Society, 3rd series, vol. xl, 1928) ; 
an English version of the same by J. H. F. Peile (1934) ; and J. W. Lamb, St Wulstan, 
Prelate and Patriot (1933). 

ST HENRY, Bishop of Uppsala, Martyr (a.d. 1156?) 

For lack of reliable contemporary records only a bare outline can be given of the 
history of St Henry. He was an Englishman, and it is possible that he was already 
resident in Rome when Cardinal Nicholas Breakspear, afterwards Pope Adrian IV, 
was sent in 1 151 as papal legate to Scandinavia. Henry seems to have accompanied 
him and to have been consecrated bishop of Uppsala by the legate himself in 1152. 
The new bishop won the favour of St Eric, King of Sweden, and when the king 
sailed to undertake a sort of crusade against the pagan marauders of Finland, the 
new bishop went with him. The Swedish warriors gained a great victory and as a 
result some of the Finns accepted Christian baptism. Eric sailed back to Sweden, 
but the bishop remained behind to continue his work, " with apostolic zeal, though 
occasionally hardly with apostolic wisdom ". 

A convert named Lalli having committed a murder, St Henry required him to 
do penance, but Lalli, resentful of the indignity, lay in wait for the bishop and slew 
him (but there is another and quite different story of his death). Several miracles 
of healing and others were recorded of Henry, and although there seems to be no 
evidence for the assertion that the martyred bishop was formally canonized by Pope 
Adrian himself, he has from an early date been recognized as the patron sajnt of 
Finland. It appears from an indulgence letter of Boniface VIII in 1296 that the 
cathedral of Abo was already dedicated to St Henry, and when in the sixteenth 
century the series of paintings depicting English saints and martyrdoms was set 
up in the English College at Rome, the patron of Finland duly figured therein. Of 
much greater interest and artistic merit is a wonderful brass, still in existence, 
engraved (c. 1440) to cover the cenotaph at Nousis where his relics first rested, 
with twelve subordinate plaques descriptive of his legend and miracles. ' In 1300 
the remains of St Henry Were translated to the cathedral at Abo (now called Turku) 
and a second festival commemorating this translation was kept in Finland on June 
18. In Sweden January 19 was the day of St Henry's principal feast, but the 
Finnish calendars assign it to January 20. 

A full account of St Henry is given in an article by Professor T. Borenius in the Archaeolo- 
gical Journal, vol. lxxxvii (1930), pp. 340-358 ; and further liturgical details are supplied 
by Aarno Malin, Der Heiligenkalender Finnlands (1925), pp. 179 and 208-223. The thir- 
teenth-century legend of St Henry is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January, vol. ii, as well 
as elsewhere. See also C. J. A. Oppermann, English Missionaries in Sweden and Finland 
(^93 7). PP- 200-205 ; but cf. the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lvii (1939), pp. 162-164. 

BD ANDREW OF PESCHIERA (a.d. 1485) 

Not very much authentic detail seems to be preserved to us concerning the life of 
this Andrew. His family name was Gregho (their origin was Greek), and he was 
born at Peschiera upon the Lago di Garda. At an early age he entered the Domi- 
nican Order at Brescia, and was sent to the famous friary of San Marco at Florence 
to make his studies. After ordination he was bidden by his superiors to evangelize 
the Valtelline, a district of Switzerland and northern Italy, where heresy was rife 

123 


January 19] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

and the people fierce and godless. An attractive picture is painted of the mis- 
sionary's untiring labours amongst these unsympathetic people, of his tender 
devotion to the Passion, of the austerity of his life, and of his spirit of humility and 
poverty. Some of the miracles attributed to him are of a rather extravagant 
character, as when we are told that when a book was produced by the heretics to 
confute him in argument, he bade his opponents open their book and " an enormous 
viper " came out of it, typical of the poison which the book contained. He was 
instrumental in founding the Dominican house at Morbegno, to serve as a sort of 
outpost, and it was here, on January 18, 1485, that Bd Andrew died. He had spent 
forty-five years of his life in the Valtelline. His cultus was confirmed in 1820. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, May, vol. iv, pp. 627-631 ; Procter, Short Lives of the Dominican 
Saints, pp. 7-10. 

BD BERNARD OF GORLEONE (a.d. 1667) 

Philip Latini, a young man who practised the trade of a shoemaker in the town 
of Corleone, about twenty miles from Palermo, seems also in his youth to have had 
a hankering after a career of arms, and, according to his biographer, was accounted 
the best swordsman in Sicily. Among many other encounters, having on one 
occasion come into conflict with the police and wounded an officer of the law, he, 
as the custom was in those days, took sanctuary in a church. There he was safe 
from arrest, but of course could not venture to leave his refuge until the coast was 
clear. Being thus virtually besieged for several days, Philip, who was by nature 
very devout, had time to enter into himself, and realized that in the wild and ad- 
venturous life he was leading he stood in grave danger of losing his soul. He 
accordingly in 1631 joined the Capuchins as a lay-brother, being then twenty-seven 
years old, receiving the name of Bernard. From this time forth the courage and 
enthusiasm which he had displayed in fighting were entirely given to the practice 
of austerity. His fastings, watchings and macerations of the flesh were incredibly 
severe, and the assaults which he sustained from the enemy of mankind, who, we 
are told, often appeared to him in hideous forms and offered him physical violence, 
make very sensational reading. On the other hand, the extraordinary graces which 
his biographer records are on much the same scale. We hear of ecstasies and 
levitations, and of prophecies and miracles innumerable. 

One special gift attributed to him, which makes a more attractive appeal to the 
feeling of our own day, was that of healing animals. He had great compassion for 
the poor suffering beasts, for, as he observed, they have neither doctors nor 
medicine nor speech to explain what is the matter with them. They were brought 
to him in numbers. He said the Lord's Prayer over them, and then had them led 
three times round the cross which stood in front of the friary church. But he cured 
them all (tutte le risanava), and, what is even more surprising, we are told that at his 
death he bequeathed this same power of healing animals to another member of the 
community who was very attached to him. Brother Bernard of Corleone died at 
Palermo on January 12, 1667, and was beatified in 1768. 

See B. Sanbenedetti, Vita del . . . F. Bernardo da Corlione (1725), the first edition of 
which biography was apparently published in 1679, twelve years after Bd Bernard's death ; 
Father Angelique's complete biography (1901) ; Father Dionigi, Profilo del B. Bernardo 
(1934), with bibliography ; and L£on, Aureole Seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. i, pp. 97-98. 
For an illustration of the abuses to which the privilege of sanctuary lent itself, see J. B. 
Labat, Voyage en Espagne et en Italie, 1703 et 1707, vol. iv, p. 19. 

124 


BD MARGARET BOURGEOYS [January 19 

ST CHARLES OF SEZZE (ad. 1670) 

There is not much which calls for special comment in the life of Charles of Sezze, 
Franciscan lay-brother of the Observance. Though he was of humble birth, his 
parents hoped that he might be educated for the priesthood, but at school he was 
found a very dull pupil, and beyond learning to read and write he seems to have 
had no further education. He was, however, extremely responsive to all that spoke 
to him of God. Though the days of his youth were spent in labouring in the fields, 
he practised austere penance and took a vow of chastity. He had more than one 
serious illness, and once, when he was twenty, he promised to become a religious 
if he was cured. The friars of Naziano eventually accepted him as a lay-brother, 
and there in the noviceship his fervour redoubled. After his profession he begged 
to join some of his brethren who were going to the Indies as missionaries, but he 
again fell seriously ill, and after convalescence was sent to live in Rome. Here he 
gave a wonderful example of virtue and charity, and, despite his extreme simplicity, 
his company was sought by cardinals and other eminent ecclesiastics. He died on 
January 6, 1670, at the age of 57, beatified in 1882, and canonized in 1959. 

See the decree of beatification in the Analecta Juris Pontificii, 1882 ; L£on, Aureole 
Seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. ii, pp. 64-68 ; Imbert-Gourbeyre, La Stigmatisation (1894), 
vol. i, pp. 315-316. 

BD MARGARET BOURGEOYS, Virgin, Foundress of the Con- 
gregation of Notre Dame of Montreal (a.d. 1700) 

Margaret Bourgeoys was the sixth of the twelve children of Abraham Bourgeoys, 
wax-chandler, and his wife, Guillemette Gamier, and was born at Troyes, the chief 
town of Champagne, in 1620. When she was twenty years old she offered herself 
as a postulant first to the Carmelites and then to the Poor Clares, and was refused — 
for reasons unknown — by both. She was well known in Troyes as president of the 
sodality of our Lady attached to the convent of the Augustinian canonesses of St 
Peter Fourier and Bd Alix Le Clercq ; and the Abbe Gendret took these refusals 
to mean that Margaret was intended to lead an unenclosed community which he 
had long been considering. Such a community was in fact begun under his direc- 
tion by Margaret and two others, but it came to nothing and she returned home. 
Amid these rebuffs she was saved from discouragement by a vision of the Child 
Jesus, which, she declared, " for ever turned my eyes from all the beauty of this 
world ". 

In 1652 there came to visit his sister in the canonesses* convent at Troyes Paul 
de Maisonneuve, governor of the French settlement at Ville-Marie (Montreal). 
He wanted a schoolmistress for his little colony ; and Margaret, who had long been 
interested in Canada and recognized in Maisonneuve an intimation that this was 
her call, agreed to go. She landed at Quebec on September 22, 1653, and a month 
later was at Ville-Marie. It was simply a fort, wherein the couple of hundred souls 
all lived, with a little hospital and a chapel for the Jesuit missionary when he was 
there. 

For over four years Margaret made a sort of " uncanonical novitiate ". She 
housekept for the governor, looked after the few children, helped Joan Mance at 
the hospital and the wives of the garrison, got the great cross restored on Mount 
Royal (its predecessor had been destroyed by the Indians), and had a new chapel 

125 


January 19] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of our Lady almost ready for the arrival of the four " gentlemen ecclesiastics " 
from Saint-Sulpice in 1657. In the following year the first school of Montreal 
was opened, in a stone building that had been a stable, with less than a dozen girls 
and boys and one assistant, Margaret Picart. But Margaret Bourgeoys was looking 
ahead : Montreal would grow, and with it her work — and there were the children 
of the Indians to be kept in mind. Where could she get helpers ? There was 
only one answer to that question ; and in the same year she sailed with Joan Mance 
for France. Twelve months later she was back, with her old friend Catherine 
Crolo and three other young women. 

During the years that followed, years full of disturbance and alarms because of 
the Iroquois war, the school grew and Margaret added to it a kindergarten for a few 
adopted Indian children, household instruction for older girls, and the organization 
of a Marian sodality. Montreal too was growing, and with the end of the Iroquois 
war in 1667 the adumbration of a town began to appear. During 1 670-1672 
Margaret was again in France. She was given civil authorization for her work by 
King Louis XIV ; she obtained another half-dozen recruits ; and it seems it was 
now that she definitely determined to organize a religious congregation. On her 
return she had to pilot her little community through a period of great poverty and 
difficulty ; but her trust in God's providence was amply rewarded, and in 1676 
the Congregation of Notre Dame was canonically erected by the first bishop of 
Quebec, Mgr de Laval. 

But troubled times again followed. Mgr de Laval had his own ideas about the 
future of the congregation, which gave Mother Bourgeoys a third and fruitless 
journey to France, and in 1683 the convent was destroyed by fire, two sisters (one 
of whom was Margaret's niece) losing their lives. Mgr de Laval thought that this 
was the moment for the little community to amalgamate with the Ursulines, who 
had been in Quebec since 1639. Mother Bourgeoys humbly represented that 
monastic enclosure would make their work impossible ; and the bishop did not 
insist. That was not the end of it, however, for Mgr de Laval's successor, Mgr 
de Saint- Vallier, an obstinate and quick-tempered prelate, raised many difficulties 
before he accepted the idea of the first unenclosed foreign -missionary community 
for women in the Church. It was not till 1698 that twenty-four sisters were able 
to make simple vows, Mother Bourgeoys by then having ceased to be superioress 
for the past five years. 

Montreal's first boarding-school was opened in 1673, and the first mission- 
school for Indians began in 1676 ; by 1679 there were two Iroquois girls in the 
community.* Schools for French children were started outside Ville-Marie on 
the island of Montreal (where in 1689 tne Iroquois massacred every man, woman 
and child not protected by the fort), then farther afield near Trois- Rivieres, and 
in 1685 Mgr de Saint-Vallier summoned the sisters to Quebec — seven missions in 
all. Behind these humble beginnings, which were to develop into over 200 
establishments of the congregation to-day, facing reverses from savages and from 
fire, all the fierce hardships of colonial pioneering, struggles with poverty and some 
lack of comprehension from superiors, stands the indomitable figure of Bd Margaret 
Bourgeoys, the First Schoolmistress of Montreal. Like not a few other foundresses, 
she is known best in her work, in those undertakings in which she underwent the 

* There were two New Englanders in this French community before the death of the 
foundress : captives of the Abenakis, ransomed at Montreal, who became Catholics there. 
Lydia Langley, of Groton, Massachusetts, was the first New England girl to become a nun. 

126 


BD THOMAS OF CORI [January 19 

common double trial of doubt of her own capacity for the work and a gnawing sense 
of her unworthiness before God. But courage was not the least of her virtues, and 
devotion to the good of the children and of all her neighbours urged her on, " I want 
at all costs ", she said, " not only to love my neighbour, but to keep him in love 
for me. " 

C. W. Colby wrote in his Canadian Types of the Old Regime (New York, 1908) : 
From the moment of her arrival in New France she became a source of 
inspiration to all about her. Less austere than Mile Mance, less mystical than 
Marie de 1' Incarnation, she combined fervour with an abundance of those 
virtues which have their roots in human affection. It is not too much to say 
that for almost half a century she was by influence and attainment the first 
woman in Montreal. . . . Goodness radiated from her benign personality, 
and her work bore the more lasting results from the wisdom of her methods. 
But above everything else Marguerite Bourgeoys was a teacher. . . . And 
when the biographer has finished his sketch of Marie de T Incarnation* or 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, he had best remain content with his plain narrative. 
Women like those do not ask for eulogy. Their best praise is the record of 
their deeds, written without comment in the impressive simplicity of truth. 

From the time that she resigned her superiorship at the age of 73, Bd Margaret's 
health and strength gradually waned, but the end came rather unexpectedly. On 
the last day of 1699 the aged foundress offered her life in place of that of the 
novice-mistress, who was very ill ; and so it came about : the young nun got better, 
but Mother Bourgeoys died, on January 12, 1700. She was beatified in 1950, and 
her feast-day is January 19. 

There is a considerable literature about this beata. A manuscript copy of her own 
memoirs, written under obedience in 1698, is preserved at Montreal, and at the Quebec 
seminary there is the original manuscript of the unpublished biography of Margaret written 
by Mgr C. de Glandelet in 171 5. There have been several published lives in French, from 
M. F. Ransonnet's (1728) to Dom A. Jamet's two volumes (1942) and Father Y. Charron's 
Mere Bourqeoys (1950, Eng. trans.), of which Canon L. Groulx says in his preface, " Rien 
done, en la maniere de M. Charron, de I'hagiographie abstraite et d6shumanis£e ". There 
are popular biographies in English by E. F. Butler (1932) and Sister St I. Doyle (1940). 

BD THOMAS OF CORI (a.d. 1729) 

This holy Franciscan was of humble birth, a native of Cori in the Roman Cam- 
pagna. As a child he obtained some schooling from a charitable priest, but before 
long his parents took him away to assist them in their work of pasturing sheep. As 
we read of many other youthful shepherds of both sexes who figure in the lives of 
the saints, he turned this time of solitude spent with the dumb beasts and with 
God under the open sky to good account. He acquired such a habit of prayer and 
contemplation that when his parents both died he applied for admission, being then 
aged twenty-two, among the Observant friars of Cori. He was received, and six 
years after was ordained priest. Though he was at first employed as master of 
novices, he seems always to have retained his attraction for the wilderness, and he 
obtained leave to bury himself in the little friary of Civitella, among the mountains 
in the neighbourhood of Subiaco. Here Thomas spent almost all the rest of his 
life, offering himself sweetly and joyously for the meanest of occupations, practising 

* First superioress of the Ursulines of Quebec. See Father James Brodrick's Procession 
of Saints (1949), pp. 174-201. 

127 


January 20] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

severe penance, preaching to the scant and rude populace, many of them brigands, 
who dwelt in these mountain regions, and favoured himself with many ecstasies and 
extraordinary graces. In particular it is recorded of him that once when he was 
giving communion in the church, he fell into a trance, and was raised up, ciborium 
in hand, to the very roof, and then after a short interval sank slowly to earth again 
and went on distributing communion as before. When elected guardian Thomas's 
charity and trust in Providence were unbounded ; he gave away to the poor the 
loaves which remained in the house, but as the community assembled to sit down 
at a table bare of all food, a wholly unforeseen donation was brought to supply their 
needs. Though always kindly and considerate as a superior, he was strict in those 
things which concerned the service of God, insisting in particular that the office 
should be recited slowly and reverently ; Si cor non or at, he used to say, in vanum 
lingua labor at (If the heart does not pray, the tongue works in vain). He died at 
the age of seventy-three on January 11, 1729, and was beatified in 1785. 

See Luca di Roma, Breve compendio della vita . . . del B. Padre Tommaso da Cori 
(1786) ; Leon, Aureole Seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. i, pp. 324-332. 


20 


• ST FABIAN, Pope and Martyr (a.d. 250) 


POPE ST FABIAN succeeded St Antherus in the pontificate about the 
year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy 
held to elect the new pope, a dove flew in and settled on the head of St 
Fabian. This sign, we are told, united the votes of the clergy and people in choosing 
Fabian, though, as he was a layman and a stranger, they had no thought of him 
before. He governed the Church fourteen years, brought the body of St Pontian, 
pope and martyr, from Sardinia, and condemned Privatus, the author of a new 
heresy which had given trouble in Africa. St Fabian died a martyr in the perse- 
cution of Deems, in 250, as St Cyprian and St Jerome bear witness. The former, 
writing to his successor, St Cornelius, calls Fabian an incomparable man ; and 
says that the glory of his death corresponded with the purity and holiness of his 
life. The slab which closed the loculus of St Fabian in the cemetery of St Callistus 
still exists. It is broken into four fragments, but clearly bears the words, in Greek 
characters, " Fabian, bishop, martyr ". 

See Duchesne, Liber Pontijicalis, vol. i, pp. 148-149 ; St Cyprian, Epistle ix ; H. Leclercq 
in DAC, vol. v, cc. 1057-1064 ; Nuovo Bullettino di arch, crist. (1916), pp. 207-221 ; 
Wilpert, La cripta dei Papi (1910), p. 18. The body was afterwards transferred to the 
church of St Sebastian : see Grossi-Gondi, S. Fabiano, papa e martire (1916) and Cheramy, 
Saint- Sebastian hors les murs (1925). 

ST SEBASTIAN, Martyr (a.d. 288 ?) 

According to the " acts ", assigned without any adequate reason to the authorship 
of St Ambrose, St Sebastian was born at Narbonne in Gaul, though his parents 
had come from Milan, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent 
servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations were averse from a military 
life, yet to be better able to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings 
without arousing suspicion, he went to Rome and entered the army under the 
Emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and 

128 


ST SEBASTIAN [January 20 

Marcellian, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of faltering in their 
resolution owing to the tears of their friends ; Sebastian, seeing this, intervened, 
and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with an ardour 
that strongly affected his hearers. Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus, who had for six 
years lost the use of speech, fell at his feet, and when the saint made the sign of the 
cross on her mouth, she spoke again distinctly. Thus Zoe, with her husband, 
Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls (primiscrinius), the parents of Marcus and 
Marcellian, the gaoler Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners were converted ; 
and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, 
where Polycarp, a priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor 
of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of Marcus 
and Marcellian, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to 
follow their example, since he himself was grievously afflicted with the same 
malady. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and bap- 
tized with his son Tiburtius. He then released the converted prisoners, made his 
slaves free, and resigned his prefectship. 

Not long after Carinus was defeated and slain in Illyricum by Diocletian, who 
the year following made Maximian his colleague in the empire. The persecution 
was still carried on by the magistrates in the same manner as under Carinus, without 
any new edicts. Diocletian, admiring the courage and character of St Sebastian, 
was anxious to keep him near his person ; and being ignorant of his religious 
beliefs he created him captain of a company cf the pretorian guards, which was a 
considerable dignity. When Diocletian went into the East, Maximian, who 
remained in the West, honoured Sebastian with the same distinction and respect. 
Chromatius retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along 
with him. Then followed a contest of zeal between St Sebastian and the priest 
Polycarp as to which of them should accompany this troop to complete their 
instruction, and which should remain at the post of danger in the city to encourage 
and assist the martyrs. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged that Sebastian 
should stay in Rome. In the year 286, the persecution growing fiercer, the pope 
and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as the place of greatest 
safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. Zoe was 
first apprehended, when praying at St Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. 
She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, 
ashamed to show less courage than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St Paul, 
and there was seized and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius and 
Victor inus were taken, and after being thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. 
Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the 
same wretch, was twice stretched upon the rack, and afterwards buried alive. 
Marcus and Marcellian were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in 
that torment twenty-four hours were shot to death with arrows. 

St Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to Heaven before him, was himself 
impeached before Diocletian ; who, after bitterly reproaching him with his in- 
gratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. 
His body was pierced through with arrows, and he was left for dead. Irene, the 
widow of St Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive and took him to her 
lodgings, where he recovered from his wounds, but refused to take to flight. On 
the contrary, he deliberately took up his station one day on a staircase where 
the emperor was to pass, and there accosting him, he denounced the abominable 

129 


January 20] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

cruelties perpetrated against the Christians. This freedom of language, coming 
from a person whom he supposed to be dead, for a moment kept the emperor 
speechless ; but recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for him to be seized 
and beaten to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. 
A lady called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, had his body secretly 
buried in the place called ad catacumbas, where now stands the basilica of St 
Sebastian. 

The story recounted above is now generally admitted by scholars to be no more 
than a pious fable, written perhaps before the end of the fifth century. All that 
we can safely assert regarding St Sebastian is that he was a Roman martyr, that he 
had some connection with Milan and was venerated there even in the time of St 
Ambrose, and that he was buried on the Appian Way, probably quite close to the 
present basilica of St Sebastian, in the cemetery ad catacumbas. Although in 
late medieval and renaissance art St Sebastian is always represented as pierced with 
arrows, or at least as holding an arrow, this attribute does not appear until com- 
paratively late. A mosaic dating from about 680 in San Pietro in Vincoli shows 
him as a bearded man carrying a martyr's crown in his hand, and in an ancient 
glass window in Strasbourg Cathedral he appears as a knight with sword and shield, 
but without arrows. St Sebastian was specially invoked as a patron against the 
plague, and certain writers of distinction {e.g. Male and Perdrizet) urge that 
the idea of protection against contagious disease was suggested, in close accord 
with a well-known incident in the first book of the Iliad, by Sebastian's undaunted 
bearing in face of the clouds of arrows shot at him ; but Father Delehaye is prob- 
ably right in urging that some accidental cessation of the plague on an occasion 
when St Sebastian had been invoked would have been sufficient to start the tradi- 
tion. That St Sebastian was the chosen patron of archers, and of soldiers in general, 
no doubt followed naturally from the legend. 

For the passio of St Sebastian see the Acta Sanctorum, January 20. See also H. Delehaye 
in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (nth edn.), and in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxviii (1909), 
p. 489 ; and K. Loffler in the Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. xiii ; cf. also Che>amy, Saint- 
Se'bastien hors les murs (1925), and the Civilta Cattolica, January and February, 191 8. 

ST EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT, Abbot (a.d. 473) 

The birth of this saint was the fruit of the prayers of his parents through the 
intercession of the martyr Polyeuctus. His father was a wealthy citizen of Melitene 
in Armenia, and Euthymius was educated in sacred learning under the care of 
the bishop of that city, who ordained him priest and made him his deputy in the 
supervision of the monasteries. The saint often visited that of St Polyeuctus, and 
spent whole nights in prayer on a neighbouring mountain, as he also did continu- 
ously from the octave of the Epiphany till towards the end of Lent. The love of 
solitude daily growing stronger, he secretly left his own country at twenty-nine 
years of age ; and, after offering up his prayers at the holy places in Jerusalem, 
chose a cell six miles from that city, near the laura * of Pharan. He made baskets, 
and earned enough by selling them to provide a living for himself and alms for 
the poor. After five years he retired with one Theoctistus ten miles farther towards 
Jericho, where they both lived in a cave. In this place he began to receive disciples 
about the year 411. He entrusted the care of his community to Theoctistus, and 

* A laura consisted of cells at a little distance from one another. 

130 


ST EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT [January 20 

himself retired to a remote hermitage, only meeting on Saturdays and Sundays 
those who desired spiritual advice. He taught his monks never to eat so much as 
to satisfy their hunger, but strictly forbade among them any singularity in fasts or 
any other uncommon observances, as savouring of vanity and self-will. Following 
his example, they all withdrew into the wilderness from after Epiphany till Palm 
Sunday, when they met again in their monastery to celebrate the offices of Holy 
Week. He enjoined constant silence and plenty of manual labour, so that they 
not only earned their own living, but also a surplus which they devoted as first- 
fruits to God in the relief of the poor. 

By making the sign of the cross and a short prayer, St Euthymius cured a young 
Arab, one half of whose body had been paralysed. His father, who had vainly 
invoked the much-boasted arts of physic and magic among the Persians to procure 
some relief for his son, at the sight of this miracle asked to be baptized. So many 
Arabs followed his example that Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, consecrated 
Euthymius bishop to provide for the spiritual needs of these converts, and in that 
capacity he assisted at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Juvenal built St Euthymius 
a laura on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho in the year 420. Euthymius could 
never be prevailed upon to depart from his rule of strict solitude, but governed 
his monks by vicars, to whom he gave directions on Sundays. His humility and 
charity won the hearts of all who spoke to him. He seemed to surpass the great 
Arsenius in the gift of perpetual tears, and Cyril of Scythopolis relates many 
miracles which he wrought, usually by the sign of the cross. In the time of a great 
drought he exhorted the people to penance to avert this scourge of heaven. Great 
numbers came in procession to his cell, carrying crosses, singing Kyrie eleison, and 
begging him to offer up his prayers to God for them. He said to them, " I am a 
sinner ; how can I presume to appear before God, who is angry at our sins ? Let 
us prostrate ourselves all together before Him, and He will hear us." They obeyed; 
and the saint going into his chapel prayed lying on the ground. The sky grew 
dark on a sudden, rain fell in abundance, and the year proved remarkably fruitful. 

When the heretical Empress Eudoxia, widow of Theodosius II, frightened by 
the afflictions of her family, consulted St Simeon Stylites he referred her to St 
Euthymius. As Euthymius would allow no woman to enter his laura she built a 
lodge some distance away, and asked him to come and see her there. His advice 
to her was to forsake the Eutychians and to receive the Council of Chalcedon. She 
followed his counsel as the command of God, returned to orthodox communion, 
and many followed her example. In 459 Eudoxia desired St Euthymius to meet 
her at her lodge, designing to settle on his laura sufficient revenues for its main- 
tenance. He sent her word to spare herself the trouble, and to prepare for death. 
She admired his disinterestedness, returned to Jerusalem, and died shortly after. 
One of the latest disciples of Euthymius was the young St Sabas, whom he tenderly 
loved. In the year 473, on January 13, Martyrius and Elias, to both of whom St 
Euthymius had foretold that they would be patriarchs of Jerusalem, came with 
several others to visit him and accompany him to his Lenten retreat. But he said 
he would stay with them all that week, and leave on the Saturday following, giving 
them to understand that his death was near at hand. Three days after he gave 
orders that a general vigil should be observed on the eve of St Antony's festival, on 
which occasion he delivered an address to his spiritual children, exhorting them to 
humility and charity. He appointed Elias his successor, and foretold to Domitian, 
a beloved disciple, that he would follow him out of this world on the seventh day, 


January 20] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

which happened exactly as he had prophesied. Euthymius died on Saturday, 
January 20, being ninety-five years old, of which he had spent sixty-eight in the 
desert. Cyril relates that he appeared several times after his death, and speaks of 
the miracles which were wrought by his intercession, declaring that he himself 
had been an eye-witness of many. St Euthymius is named in the preparation of 
the Byzantine Mass. 

Almost all our knowledge of Euthymius is derived from his life by Cyril of Scythopolis, 
a Latin version of which is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January 20, and a critical Greek 
text in E. Schwartz, Kyrillos von Skythopolis (1939). See also DCB., vol. ii, pp. 398-400 ; 
and R. Genier, Vie de S. Euthyme le Grand (1909). 

ST FECHIN, Abbot (a.d. 665) 

No very authentic information seems to be available regarding St Fechin, though 
we possess a Latin life of him, a hymn and a number of miscellaneous notices. He 
is said to have been born at Luighne (Leyney), in Connaught, and to have been 
trained by St Nathy. There are a good many extravagant miracles attributed to 
him, but two definite facts stand out : first, that he founded and ruled a community 
of monks, probably at Fobhar or Fore, in Westmeath ; secondly, that he perished 
in the terrible plague which swept over Ireland in 665. So far as bur late and 
unsatisfactory materials allow us to draw any inference, St Fechin never quitted 
his native shores, but, as such a name as Ecclefechan (" ecclesia sancti Fechani " 
is the form it assumes in old charters) would alone suffice to prove, the saint was 
certainly honoured outside his own country. At Arbroath we hear of an annual 
fair being held on January 20, which was called St Vigean's market, sometimes 
corrupted into St Virgin's market. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 20 ; LIS., vol. i, p. 356 ; and KSS., pp. 456-458. 
The most correct text of his life is, however, that of Plummer, printed in his VSH., vol. ii, 
pp. 76-86. See also some Irish materials in Revue Celtique, vol. xii, pp. 318-353. 

BD BENEDICT OF COLTIBONI (c. a.d. 1107) 

The Benedictine congregation of Vallombrosa, which developed out of the hermit- 
age established before 1038 in that famous valley by St John Gualbert, numbered 
in the days of its prime more than fifty communities, and eventually spread into 
France and the Tirol. The most characteristic feature of the new organization 
was an attempt to combine the life of the hermit with that of the monk. Bd 
Benedict Ricasoli was the son of parents who had known St John Gualbert in 
person, and had made over to him and his disciples a property at Coltiboni. Here 
Benedict was received at an early age by Abbot Azzo, but aspiring after greater 
perfection and solitude than seemed possible in community life, he took up his 
quarters in a hut on the mountain side at some little distance from the abbey. 
From time to time he returned to keep some festival of the Church with his brethren, 
and on one of these rare visits, remaining from Christmas until the Epiphany, he 
showed special earnestness in exhorting the monks to fervour and to perseverance 
in their arduous vocation. Their life, he told them, ought to be nothing else but 
a continual preparation for death, and he insistently repeated the warning, " Be 
ye ready, for the Son of man cometh at the hour ye think not." Returning to his 
hermitage he himself soon afterwards (apparently on January 20, 11 07) w T as sum- 
moned to his reward. 

132 


ST AGNES [January 21 

Rumour in later times enlarged upon the marvellous occurrences which attended 
his departure from this world. It was affirmed that his death was made known by 
the monastery bell ringing of its own accord ; that a path was miraculously cleared 
through the snow and ice to enable the brethren to come and see ; that he was found 
by them dead, but still kneeling in the act of prayer, with hands joined and eyes 
raised to Heaven ; and that when he was buried within the monastic enclosure a 
light rested over the spot, and a white lily grew spontaneously out of the ground. 
The cult paid to him on account of his repute for holiness was confirmed in 1907. 
His remains are said still to repose in the sanctuary of Galloro, near Riccia. 

See the decree of the Congregation of Rites in Analecta Ecclesiastica, 1907, p. 247 ; and 
the Acta Sanctorum for January 20. 

BD DESIDERIUS, or DIDIER, Bishop of Therouanne (a.d. 
1 194) 

Although there seems to J?e no very satisfactory evidence of cultus, Didier, who 
is said to have been the thirty-third bishop of Therouanne, is commonly described 
as Blessed in hagiographical collections like those of De Ram and Guerin, and his 
name appears in some Cistercian and other calendars. He has an interest for many 
English Catholics, because he helped to found near Saint-Omer the Cistercian 
monastery of Blandecques, or " Blandyke ", which name has been perpetuated in 
English Jesuit schools as that of their monthly holiday, for in the old Saint-Omer's 
days the boys went to Blandyke once a month to spend the day in country air. A 
statue of our Lady preserved there was believed to work miracles, and as late as 
the eighteenth century medals were struck of our Lady of Blandyke. Bd Didier 
became bishop in 1169, and is said to have been remarkable for his charity and his 
spirit of prayer. He resigned his see three years before his death, which seems 
to have taken place on January 20 (or September 2), 1194 at the Cistercian abbey 
of Cambron, where he had been professed a monk. 

See Reussens in the Biographie nationale (beige), vol. v : Gallia Christiana nova, vol. ii ; 
and DHG., vol ix, c. 117, and xi, 585. 


21 


• ST AGNES, Virgin and Martyr (c. a.d. 304 ?) 


ST AGNES has always been looked upon in the Church as a special patroness 
of bodily purity. She is one of the most popular of Christian saints, and 
her name is commemorated every day in the canon of the Mass. Rome was 
the scene of her triumph, and Prudentius says that her tomb was shown within 
sight of that city. She suffered perhaps not long after the beginning of the perse- 
cution of Diocletian, whose cruel edicts were published in March in the year 303. 
We learn from St Ambrose and St Augustine that she was only thirteen years of 
age at the time of her glorious death. Her riches and beauty excited the young 
noblemen of the first families in Rome to contend as rivals for her hand. Agnes 
answered them all that she had consecrated her virginity to a heavenly husband, 
who could not be beheld by mortal eyes. Her suitors, finding her resolution 
unshakable, accused her to the governor as a Christian, not doubting that threats 
and torments would prove more effective with one of her tender years on whom 

133 


January 21] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

allurements could make no impression. The judge at first employed the mildest 
expressions and most seductive promises, to which Agnes paid no regard, repeating 
always that she could have no other spouse but Jesus Christ. He then made use 
of threats, but found her endowed with a masculine courage, and even eager to 
suffer torment and death. At last terrible fires were made, and iron hooks, racks 
and other instruments of torture displayed before her, with threats of immediate 
execution. The heroic child surveyed them undismayed, and made good cheer in 
the presence of the fierce and cruel executioners. She was so far from betraying 
the least symptom of terror that she even expressed her joy at the sight, and offered 
herself to the rack. She was then dragged before the idols and commanded to offer 
incense, but could, St Ambrose tells us, by no means be compelled to move her 
hand, except to make the sign of the cross. 

The governor, seeing his measures ineffectual, said he would send her to a house 
of prostitution, where what she prized so highly should be exposed to the insults of 
the brutal and licentious youth of Rome.* Agnes answered that Jesus Christ was 
too jealous of the purity of His chosen ones to suffer it to be violated in such a 
manner, for He was their defender and protector. " You may ", said she, " stain 
your sword with my blood, but you will never be able to profane my body, conse- 
crated to Christ.' ' The governor was so incensed at this that he ordered her to be 
immediately led to the place of shame with liberty to all to abuse her person at 
pleasure. Many young profligates ran thither, full of wicked desires, but were 
seized with such awe at the sight of the saint that they durst not approach her ; 
one only excepted, who, attempting to be rude to her, was that very instant, by a 
flash, as it were of lightning from Heaven, struck blind, and fell trembling to the 
ground. His companions, terrified, took him up and carried him to Agnes, who 
was singing hymns of praise to Christ, her protector. The virgin by prayer restored 
his sight and his health. 

The chief accuser of the saint, who had at first sought to gratify his lust and 
avarice, now, in a spirit of vindictiveness, incited the judge against her, his passion- 
ate fondness being changed into fury. The governor needed no encouragement, 
for he was highly exasperated to see himself set at defiance by one of her tender 
age and sex. Being resolved therefore upon her death, he condemned her to be 
beheaded. Agnes, filled with joy on hearing this sentence, " went to the place of 
execution more cheerfully ", says St Ambrose, " than others go to their wedding ". 
The executioner had instructions to use all means to induce her to give way, but 
Agnes remained constant ; and having made a short prayer, bowed down her neck 
to receive the death stroke. The spectators shed tears to see this beautiful child 
loaded with fetters, and offering herself fearlessly to the sword of the executioner, 
who with trembling hand cut off her head at one stroke. Her body was buried at 
a short distance from Rome, beside the Nomentan road. 

It is necessary to add to the account (based mainly on Prudentius) which is 
given above by Alban Butler, that modern authorities incline to the view that little 
reliance can be placed on the details of the story. They point out that the " acts " 

* On such vile methods of breaking down the constancy of Christian maidenhood Ter- 
tullian in his Apologia comments as follows : "By condemning the Christian maid rather 
to the lewd youth than to the lion, you have acknowledged that a stain of purity is more 
dreaded by us than any torments or death. Yet your cruel cunning avails you not, but 
rather serves to gain men over to our holy religion." 

134 


ST AGNES [January 21 

of St Agnes, attributed unwarrantably to St Ambrose, can hardly be older than 
a.d. 415, and that these seem to represent an attempt to harmonize and embroider 
the discordant data found in the then surviving traditions. St Ambrose, as just 
quoted, in his quite genuine sermon De virginibus (a.d. 377), says of St Agnes's 
martyrdom cervicem inflexit* " she bent her neck ", from which it is commonly 
inferred that she was decapitated. This view is supported by Prudentius's explicit 
statement that her head was struck off at one blow. On the other hand, the epitaph 
written by Pope St Damasus speaks of " flames ", and beyond this says nothing 
as to the manner of her death ; while from the beautiful hymn, Agnes beatae virginis 
(which Walpole, Dreves and others now recognize as a genuine work of St Ambrose), 
it clearly follows that she was not beheaded, otherwise she could not after the blow 
was struck (percussa) have drawn her cloak modestly around her and have covered 
her face with her hand. It seems plain that in the writer's view she was stabbed 
in the throat or breast. From these apparent contradictions many critics conclude 
that already in the second half of the fourth century all memory of the exact circum- 
stances of the martyrdom had been forgotten, and that only a vague tradition 
survived. 

In any case, however, there can be no possible doubt of the fact that St Agnes 
was martyred, and that she was buried beside the Via Nomentana in the cemetery 
afterwards called by her name. Here a basilica was erected in her honour before 
354 by Constantina, daughter of Constantine and wife of Gallus ; and the terms of 
the acrostic inscription set up in the apse are still preserved, but it tells us nothing 
about St Agnes except that she was " a virgin " and " victorious ". Again, the 
name of St Agnes is entered in the Depositio martyrum of a.d. 354, under the date 
January 21, together with the place of her burial. There is also abundant sub- 
sidiary evidence of early cultus in the frequent occurrence of representations of the 
child martyr in " gold glasses ", etc., and in the prominence given to her name in 
all kinds of Christian literature. " Agnes, Thecla and Mary were with me ", said 
St Martin to Sulpicius Severus, where he seems to assign precedence to Agnes even 
above our Blessed Lady. St Agnes is, as remarked above, one of the saints named 
in the canon of the Mass. 

It is quite possible that Father Jubaru is right in his attempt to reconcile the 
data supplied by Pope Damasus and St Ambrose, but it would not follow as a 
necessary consequence that he is also right in his theory that in the Greek " acts " 
we have an amalgamation of the story of two different St Agneses. With regard 
to the great St Agnes, he contends that she was a child in Rome, that she con- 
secrated to God her virginity, that she turned away from all suitors, and when 
persecution came that she deliberately left her parents' house and offered herself 
to martyrdom, that she was threatened with death by fire in an attempt to shake 
her constancy, but that, as she gave no sign of yielding, she was in fact stabbed in 
the throat. Father Jubaru in his elaborate monograph further claims to have 
discovered the reliquary, containing the greater portion of the skull of the youthful 
martyr, in the treasury of the Sancta sanctorum at the Lateran. This treasury was 
opened in 1903 after it had been hidden from view for many hundred years, 

* A. S. Walpole, Early Latin Hymns (1922), p. 69, urges that inflexit " may mean bent 
aside in order to admit the point of the sword ", and quotes parallel passages from the 
classics in support of this view. This is also the view of Father Jubaru. There can be no 
question that stabbing in the throat was a common way of despatching the condemned, 
and was regarded as the most merciful form of coup de grace. St Ambrose calls the execu- 
tioner " percussor ". 

135 


January 21] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

permission to do so having been obtained from Pope Leo XIII. The relic is 
considered by Father Grisar, s.j., and by many other archaeologists to be in all 
probability authentic, since a regular custom had grown up in the ninth century of 
separating the head from the rest of the bones when entire bodies of saints were 
enshrined in the churches. It also seems certain that the body of St Agnes was at 
that date preserved under the altar of her basilica, and further that on opening the 
the case in 1605 it was found without a head. From a medical examination of the 
fragments of the skull in the Sancta sanctorum, Dr Lapponi pronounced that the 
teeth showed conclusively that the head was that of a child about thirteen years of 
age. The more extravagant miracles which occur in the so-called " acts " are now 
admitted by all to be a fiction of the biographer. The case of St Agnes is, therefore, 
typical, and affords conclusive proof that the preposterous legends so often invented 
by later writers who wish to glorify the memory of a favourite saint cannot in 
themselves be accepted as proof that the martyrdom is fabulous and that the saint 
never existed. 

In art St Agnes is commonly represented with a lamb and a palm, the lamb, no 
doubt, being originally suggested by the resemblance of the word agnus (a lamb) 
to the name Agnes. In Rome on the feast of St Agnes each year, while the choir 
in her church on the Via Nomentana are singing the antiphon Starts a dextris ejus 
agnus nive candidior (On her right hand a lamb whiter than snow), two white lambs 
are offered at the sanctuary rails. They are blessed and then cared for until the 
time comes for shearing them. Out of their wool are woven the pallia which, on 
the vigil of SS. Peter and Paul, are laid upon the altar in the Confessio at St Peter's 
immediately over the body of the Apostle. These pallia are sent to archbishops 
throughout the Western church, " from the body of Blessed Peter ", in token of 
the jurisdiction which they derive ultimately from the Holy See, the centre of 
religious authority. 

Until the feast of St Peter Nolasco, displaced by that of St John Bosco, was 
fixed for January 28, there was in the general Western calendar on that day a 
" second feast " of St Agnes (she still has a commemoration in the Mass and Office 
of the 28th). This observance can be traced back to the Gelasian and Gregorian 
Sacramentaries, and is not altogether easy to explain. The addition of the words 
de nativitate or in genuinum, which meets us in certain liturgical texts of the seventh 
or eighth centuries, would seem to suggest that January 28 was the day on which 
St Agnes actually died, while the feast of January 21 — de passione, as it is sometimes 
described — marks the day when the martyr w T as brought to trial and threatened with 
torture. In view, however, of the prominence which the " octave " has in later 
times acquired in our Christian liturgy, it is curious that the one feast should occur 
exactly a week after the other. We have evidence that the Circumcision was called 
" Octavas Domini " already in the sixth century, and it must be remembered that 
our present Missal, following usages still more ancient, which were in fact pre- 
Christian in their origin, provides a special commemoration for the departed in die 
septimo y trigesimo et anniversario — in other words, the week day, the month day and 
the year day. It does not, therefore, seem by any means impossible that we have 
here a vestige of some primitive form of octave. Dom Baumer has called atten- 
tion to the fact that the primitive octave implied no more than a commemoration 
of the feast at the week-end without any reference to it upon the intermediate days. 

The " acts " of St Agnes are printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January 21. The Greek 
" acts " were first edited by P. Franchi de Cavalieri, S. Agnese nella tradizione e nella legenda 

136 


ST FRUCTUOSUS OF TARRAGONA [January 21 

(1899), together with a valuable discussion of the whole question. See also the monograph 
of F. Jubaru, Sainte Agnes d'apres de nouvelles recherches (1907) and further Sainte Agnes, 
vierge et martyre (1909) ; DAC, vol. i, cc. 905-965 ; Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xix (1900), 
pp. 227-228 ; P. Franchi in Studi e Testi, vol. xix, pp. 141-164 ; Bessarione, vol. viii (191 1), 
pp. 218-245 ; the Liber Pontificalis (ed. Duchesne), vol. i, p. 196 ; CMH., pp. 52-53, 66 ; 
S. Baumer, Geschichte des Breviers (1895), p. 325 ; and, for the relics, Grisar, Die romische 
Kapelle Sancta Sanctorum und ihr Schatz (1908), p. 103. And cf. St Ambrose, De virginibus 
in Migne, PL., vol. xvi, cc. 200-202 ; and Prudentius, Peristephanon, 14. 

ST FRUCTUOSUS, Bishop of Tarragona, Martyr (a.d. 259) 

St Fructuosus was the zealous and truly apostolic bishop of Tarragona, then the 
capital city of Spain. When the persecution of Valerian and Gallienus was raging 
in the year 259, he was arrested by order of Emilian the governor, along with two 
deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, on Sunday, January 16. He was then lying down 
in his bed, and only asked time to put on his shoes ; after which he cheerfully 
followed the guards, who committed him and his two companions to prison. 
Fructuosus gave his blessing to the faithful who visited him, and on Monday he 
baptized in gaol a catechumen named Rogatian. On Wednesday he kept the usual 
fast of the stations* till three o'clock in the afternoon. On Friday, the sixth day 
after their commitment, the governor ordered them to be brought before him, and 
asked Fructuosus if he knew the contents of the edict of the emperors. The saint 
answered that he did not, but that whatever they were he was a Christian. " The 
emperors ", said Emilian, " command all to sacrifice to the gods." Fructuosus 
answered, " I worship one God, who made heaven and earth and all things therein." 
Emilian said, " Do you not know that there are other gods ? " " No ", replied 
the saint. The proconsul said, " I will make you know it shortly. What is left 
to any man to fear or worship on earth if he despises the worship of the immortal 
gods and of the emperors ? " Then, turning to Augurius, he bade him pay no 
regard to what Fructuosus had said, but the deacon assured him that he worshipped 
the same Almighty God. Emilian addressed himself to the other deacon, Eulpgius, 
asking him if he too worshipped Fructuosus. The holy man answered, " I do not 
worship Fructuosus, but the same God whom he worships ". Emilian asked 
Fructuosus if he were a bishop, and added upon his confessing it, " Say, rather, 
you have been one ", meaning that he was about to lose that dignity along with his 
life ; and immediately he condemned them to be burnt alive. 

The pagans themselves could not refrain from tears on seeing them led to 
the amphitheatre, for they loved Fructuosus on account of his rare virtues. 
The Christians accompanied them, overwhelmed by a sorrow mixed with joy. 
The martyrs exulted to be hold themselves on the verge of a glorious eternity. The 
faithful offered St Fructuosus a cup of wine, but he would not taste it, saying it was 
not yet the hour for breaking the fast, which was observed on Fridays till three 
o'clock and it was then only ten in the morning. The holy man hoped to end the 
station or fast of that day with the patriarchs and prophets in Heaven. When they 
were come into the amphitheatre, Augustalis, the bishop's lector, came to him 
weeping, and begged he would permit him to pull off his shoes. The martyr said 
he could easily put them off himself, which he did. Felix, a Christian, stepped 
forward and desired he would remember him in his prayers. Fructuosus said 
aloud, " I am bound to pray for the whole Catholic Church spread over the world 

* Wednesdays and Fridays were fast-days at that time ; but only till none, that is, three 
in the afternoon. This was called the fast of the stations. 

137 


January 21] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

from the east to the west," as if he had said, observes St Augustine, who much 
applauds this utterance, " If you wish that I should pray for you, do not leave her 
for whom I pray ". Martial, one of his flock, desired him to speak some words of 
comfort to his desolate church. The bishop, turning to the Christians, said, 
" My brethren, the Lord will not leave you as a flock without a shepherd. He is 
faithful to His promises. The hour of our suffering is short." The martyrs were 
fastened to stakes to be burnt, but the flames seemed at first to respect their bodies, 
consuming only the bands with which their hands were tied and giving them liberty 
to stretch out their arms in prayer. It was thus, on their knees, that they gave up 
their souls to God before the fire had touched them. Babylas and Mygdonius, 
two Christian servants of the governor, saw the heavens open and the saints carried 
up with crowns on their heads ; but Emilian himself, summoned to see too, was 
not accounted worthy to behold them. The faithful came in the night, extinguished 
the fire with wine, and took out the half-burnt bodies. Everyone carried some part 
of their remains home with him, but being admonished from Heaven, brought them 
back and laid them in the same sepulchre. St Augustine has left us a panegyric 
on St Fructuosus, pronounced on the anniversary day of his martyrdom. 

This account of the passion of St Fructuosus belongs to that comparatively small class 
of the acts of the martyrs which all critics agree in regarding as authentic. Even Harnack 
says (Chronologie bis Eusebius, vol. ii, p. 473) that the document " awakens no suspicion ". 
It is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January 21, in Ruinart and elsewhere. See Delehaye, 
Les passions des martyrs . . . (1921), p. 144, and also his Oriqines du culte des martyrs (1933), 
pp. 66-67. What more especially establishes the authenticity of the Acts of St Fructuosus 
is the fact that both St Augustine and Prudentius were evidently acquainted with them. 

ST PATROCLUS, Martyr (a.d. 259 ?) 

Concerning the martyr St Patroclus, St Gregory of Tours comments that the 
popular devotion to him was greatly increased by the discovery of a copy of his 
passto. He was buried at or near Troyes, where he suffered, and over his tomb 
was a little oratory, but the only cleric who served it was a lector (one of the minor 
orders), and we may fairly infer from Gregory's language that no great interest 
was taken in the shrine. One fine day, however, this lector went to the bishop and 
showed him a hastily written manuscript which professed to be a copy of the Acts 
of St Patroclus. The account he gave of it was that a stranger had asked for 
hospitality, who had in his possession a manuscript containing the Passion of St 
Patroclus. The lector said he had borrowed it, and by sitting up all night had 
copied the document, but had, of course, returned the original to the owner who 
went away next morning. It is an extremely significant fact, well worthy of the 
attention of every student of Merovingian hagiography, that the Bishop of Troyes 
only scolded and cuffed him well, declaring that the lector had invented the whole 
story and that there had been no traveller and no manuscript. Obviously the rulers 
of the Church at that period were well aware that the fabrication of fictitious acts 
was going on freely. 

St Gregory, however, declares that in this case, when a military expedition 
invaded Italy a short time afterwards, some of the members brought back with 
them a Passion of St Patroclus identical with that which the lector had copied. The 
result was an immense revival of devotion to the saint. He was a prominent 
Christian of exceptional charity and holiness. He was arrested either when a 
certain governor called Aurelian (259) or when the Emperor Aurelian himself came 

138 


ST MEINRAD [January 21 

to Troyes (275). Answering fearlessly and defiantly, he was sentenced to death. 
In an attempt to drown him in the Seine he escaped from the executioners, but 
was recaptured and then beheaded. His relics were eventually carried to Soest in 
Westphalia, where they still repose. 

See Acta Sanctorum for January 21 ; Allard, Histoire des persecutions, vol. iii, pp. 101 seq. ; 
Giefers, Acta S. Patrocli (1857). 

ST EPIPHANIUS, Bishop of Pavia (a.d. 496) 

The reputation of Epiphanius for holiness and miracles gave him the highest credit 
with the weak Roman emperors of his time, and with the Kings Odoacer and Theo- 
doric, though all of opposite interests. By his eloquence and charity he tamed 
savage barbarians, won life and liberty for whole armies of captives, and secured the 
abolition of many oppressive laws, with the mitigation of heavy public imposts and 
taxes. By his profuse charities he preserved many of the famine-stricken from 
perishing, and by his zeal he stemmed the torrent of iniquity in times of universal 
disorder. Epiphanius undertook an embassy to the Emperor Anthemius, and 
another to King Euric at Toulouse : both in the hope of averting war. He rebuilt 
Pavia, which had been destroyed by Odoacer, and mitigated the fury of Theodoric 
in the heat of his victories. He set out on a journey into Burgundy to redeem the 
captives detained by Gondebald and Godegisilus, but on his return died of cold 
and fever at Pavia, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. His death was really that of 
a martyr of charity, and during his lifetime he seems to have been honoured by his 
flock with a profusion of endearing and complimentary names. They called him 
the " peacemaker ", the " glory of Italy ", the " light of bishops ", and also Papa 
— i.e. the Father. His body was translated to Hildesheim in Lower Saxony, in 
963 ; Brower thinks it lies in a silver coffin near the high altar. 

See his panegyric in verse by Ennodius, his successor, reputed to be the masterpiece of 
that author, edited in the Acta Sanctorum, as also in MGH., Auctores antiquissimi, vol. vii, 
pp. 84-110. Cf. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xvii (1898), pp. 124-127. 

ST MEINRAD, Martyr (a.d. 861) 

As the patron and in some sense the founder of the famous abbey of Einsiedeln 
in Switzerland, one of the few which have preserved unbroken continuity since 
Carolingian times, St Meinrad (Meginrat) cannot here be passed over. By birth 
he is supposed to have been connected with the family of the Hohenzollerns. He 
became a priest, entered the Benedictine abbey at Reichenau, and later on was given 
some teaching work beside the upper Lake of Zurich. His soul, however, pined 
for solitude, and for the opportunity of devoting himself entirely to contemplation. 
He consequently sought out a spot in a forest, and there, with the permission of 
his superiors, he settled about the year 829. The fame of his sanctity, however, 
brought him many visitors, and seven years later he found it necessary to move still 
farther south and farther from the abodes of men. The place where he finally 
took up his abode is now called Einsiedeln (i.e. Hermitage). There he lived for 
twenty-five years, carrying on a constant warfare with the Devil and the flesh, but 
favoured by God with many consolations. 

On January 21, 861, he was visited by two ruffians who had conceived the idea 
that he had treasure somewhere stored away. Though he knew their purpose, he 
courteously offered them food and hospitality. In the evening they smashed in 

139 


January 21] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

his skull with clubs, but finding nothing, took to flight. The legend says that two 
ravens pursued them with hoarse croakings all the way to Zurich. By this means 
the crime was eventually discovered, and the two murderers burnt at the stake. 
The body of the saint was conveyed to Reichenau and there preserved with great 
veneration. Some forty years later Bd Benno, a priest of noble Swabian family, 
went to take up his abode in St Meinrad's hermitage at Einsiedeln. Though 
forced, much against his inclination, in 927 to accept the archbishopric of Metz, 
he returned to Einsiedeln later on, gathering round him a body of followers who 
eventually became the founders of the present Benedictine abbey. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 21, also the Life of St Meinrad in MGH., Scriptores, 
vol. xv, pp. 445 sej. There are many modern accounts of St Meinrad ; see e.g. O. Ringholz, 
Wallfahrtsgeschichte von U. L. Frau von Einsiedeln, pp. 1-6. The two ravens appear in the 
arms of Einsiedeln and are also used as the emblems of the saint. 

BD EDWARD STRANSHAM, Martyr (ad. 1586) 

Edward Stransham, or Transham (alias Edmund Barber), was born at or near 
Oxford about 1554, went to St John's College, and there took the degree of bachelor 
of arts. He was at Douay and Rheims in 1577— 1578, came home for a time on 
account of ill-health, and then returned to Rheims. He was ordained priest 
at Soissons in 1580, and in the summer of the following year came on the 
English mission with another priest, Nicholas Woodfen, who was to suffer martyr- 
dom too. 

Challoner quotes high commendation for both priests from Rishton and Dr 
Bridge water, and Stransham laboured with such effect that in 1583 he was able to 
cross over to Rheims with twelve converts from Oxford for the college there. He 
was in France for two years, being delayed for months in Paris where consumption 
threatened to put an end to his life. But what illness failed to do, the laws of his 
country did. He had been back in England only a short time when he was arrested 
while celebrating Mass, at a house in Bishopsgate Street Without in London. 
At the next assizes he and Mr Woodfen were condemned for their priesthood, and 
they were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on January 21, 1586, six 
months after their arrest. Bd Edward Stransham was among those beatified 
in 1929. The case of Mr Woodfen (alias Devereux, vere Wheeler) is still under 
consideration. 

Further particulars may be found in an article contributed by J. B. Wainewright to the 
Downside Review, volume of 191 1, at p. 205, which cites the relevant authorities. 

BB. THOMAS REYNOLDS and ALBAN ROE, Martyrs (ad. 
1642) 

Thomas Reynolds, whose name was really Green, was a native of Oxford, born 
there about 1560. He was educated and made his ecclesiastical studies at Rheims, 
Valladolid and Seville, and although he was already over thirty when he was made 
priest he laboured for nearly fifty years on the English mission. He was among 
the forty-seven priests who were exiled in the summer of 1606 ; but, like many 
others of them, he came back again in secret and continued his devoted and danger- 
ous ministry for years, until eventually he was " laid by the heels " and sentenced 
to death for his priesthood : but he was kept in prison for fourteen years before the 
sentence was carried out. A contemporary account of this venerable old man (he 

140 


BB. THOMAS REYNOLDS AND ALB AN ROE [January 21 

was about eighty) says he "for a long course of years had preached virtue and 
godliness to his countrymen, no less by his example than by his words. ... He 
was fat and corpulent, yet very infirm through past labours and sufferings. . . . 
He was remarkably mild and courteous, and . . . had reaped much fruit in gaining 
many souls to God." 

For all his long experience — or perhaps because of it — Mr Reynolds was of a 
timorous disposition, and in dread of the awful manner of death with which he was 
faced. But he was encouraged and upheld by one who suffered with him at Tyburn, 
namely Dom Bartholomew Roe (alias Rouse, Rolfe, etc.). This Benedictine monk, 
whose name in religion was Alban, had been born, probably at Bury St Edmunds, 
fifty-nine years previously. In consequence of meeting with a man imprisoned 
for his faith in the abbey gatehouse at Saint Albans, Roe, who was then at Cambridge 
University, became a Catholic, and in due course a monk of St Laurence's at 
Dieulouard in Lorraine (now St Laurence's, Ampleforth). He was evidently a 
man of lively disposition, for before going to St Laurence's he had been dismissed 
from the English college at Douay for indiscipline, and later on in England he gave 
offence to some over strait-laced people. He laboured on the mission successfully 
nevertheless, for the few years that he was free. His second imprisonment began 
about 1627 in that very Saint Albans gatehouse (it still stands) where he had 
received the grace of faith ; then he was for some fourteen years in the Fleet prison 
(he was sometimes let out on parole), where he suffered from an agonizing disease, 
and he there translated St John Fisher's treatise on prayer and other works into 
English. At last release came. On January 19, 1642, he was tried and sentenced 
for his priesthood, and two days later he and Thomas Reynolds set out for Tyburn 
together. 

" Well, how do you find yourself now ? " asked the monk. 

" In very good heart," replied Mr Reynolds. " Blessed be God for it, and 
glad I am to have for my comrade in death a man of your undaunted courage." 

At the scaffold they gave one another absolution, and Roe helped the aged 
Reynolds on to the cart, who then addressed the people, expressing forgiveness 
for his enemies and much moving the sheriff by invoking for that official " grace 
to be a glorious saint in Heaven ". When Roe's turn came he, who had been 
ministering to three felons who also were to die, turned to the people and began 
with a cheerful " Here's a jolly company ! " He then spoke to them, finally 
pointing out that his religion was his only treason, since if he would abandon it he 
would be at once reprieved. His last word to men was a joking remark to one of 
the turnkeys from the Fleet prison. Then the two martyrs said the psalm 
" Miserere " in alternate verses, and as they dropped they cried out the name of 
Jesus, in which one of the felons joined. They were allowed to hang until they 
were dead, before, in the words of a Frenchman present, the Sieur de Marsys, " the 
hangman opened those loving and burning breasts, as if to give air to that furnace 
of charity which consumed their hearts ". 

Nine Martyr Monks (193 1), by Bede Camm, contains a good account of Roe and of the 
martyrdom of both priests. He relies mainly on the rare Histoire de la persecution . . . en 
Angleterre of Marsys ; a manuscript used by Challoner, and now at Oscott ; and some 
letters of Father John (Bede) Hiccocks, a Carmelite who was present, as well as MMP. 
(pp. 407-411). See also D. Timothy Horner's article in Ampleforth and Its Origins (1952), 
pp. 181-195. For Reynolds see MMP., pp. 402-407, and Pollen's Acts of English Martyrs. 
He probably came from the families of Green of Great Milton, Oxon., and Reynolds of Old 
Stratford, Warwickshire. 

141 


January 22] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

BD JOSEPHA OF BENIGANIM, Virgin (ad. 1696) 

Bd Ines, to use the name by which she is best remembered amongst her own 
countrymen, was born in a village near Valencia in Spain in 1625. Her parents, 
Luis Albinana and Vincentia Gomar, were of good family but poor in this world's 
goods. From earliest childhood Ines gave herself to God, shunning even the 
childish pastimes of her companions, and her modesty and simplicity of heart 
compelled the respect even of those who had little regard for virtue. In spite of 
many trials which came upon her after her father's early death, she eventually 
accomplished her purpose of consecrating herself to God in a convent of barefooted 
Augustinian hermitesses at Beniganim. Here Sister Josepha-Maria-of- St- Agnes, 
as she was called in religion, made great strides in perfection, regarding herself as 
the meanest of all, ready at every moment to render a service to the youngest of her 
religious sisters. Her bodily austerities were very severe, and she often contrived 
to spend much of the night before the Blessed Sacrament. After long periods of 
desolation and temptation most patiently borne, she was endowed by God with a 
remarkable gift of prophecy and of the discernment of spirits, which led to her 
being consulted in spiritual matters, much to her own confusion, by some of the 
highest grandees of Spain. She lived until the age of seventy-one, dying on the 
feast of her patron St Agnes in 1696. She was beatified in 1888. 

See the brief of beatification ; and Kirchliches Handlexikon, under " Josepha-Maria ". 


22 


. ST VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA, Martyr (ad. 304) 


THE glorious martyr St Vincent was instructed in the sacred sciences and 
Christian piety by St Valerius, Bishop of Saragossa, who ordained him his 
deacon, and appointed him, though very young, to preach and instruct the 
people. Dacian, a cruel persecutor, was then governor of Spain. The Emperors 
Diocletian and Maximian published their second and third edicts against the 
Christian clergy in the year 303, which in the following year were put in force 
against the laity. It seems to have been before these last that Dacian put to death 
eighteen martyrs at Saragossa, who are mentioned by Prudentius and in the Roman 
Martyrology for January 16, and that he apprehended Valerius and Vincent. They 
were soon after transferred to Valencia, where the governor let them lie long in 
prison, suffering extreme famine and other miseries. The proconsul hoped that 
this lingering torture would shake their constancy, but when they were at last 
brought before him he was surprised to see them still intrepid in mind and vigorous 
in body, so that he reprimanded his officers for not having treated the prisoners 
according to his orders. Then he employed alternately threats and promises to 
induce the prisoners to sacrifice. Valerius, who had an impediment in his speech, 
making no answer, Vincent said to him, " Father, if you order me, I will speak." 
" Son," said Valerius, " as I committed to you the dispensation of the word of God, 
so I now charge you to answer in vindication of the faith which we defend." The 
deacon then informed the judge that they were ready to suffer everything for the 
true God, and that in such a cause they could pay no heed either to threats or 
promises. Dacian contented himself with banishing Valerius. As for St Vincent, 
he was determined to assail his resolution by every torture which his cruel temper 

142 


ST VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA [January 22 

could suggest. St Augustine assures us that he suffered torments beyond what 
any man could have endured unless supported by a supernatural strength ; and 
that in the midst of them he preserved such peace and tranquillity as astonished his 
very persecutors. The rage and chagrin felt by the proconsul were manifest in 
the twitching of his limbs, the angry glint in his eyes and the unsteadiness of his 
voice. 

The martyr was first stretched on the rack by his hands and feet, and whilst he 
hung his flesh was torn with iron hooks. Vincent, smiling, called the executioners 
weak and faint-hearted. Dacian thought they spared him, and caused them to be 
beaten, which afforded Vincent an interval of rest ; but they soon returned to him, 
resolved fully to satisfy the cruelty of their master. But the more his body was 
mangled, the more did the divine presence cherish and comfort his soul ; and the 
judge, seeing the blood which flowed from his body and the frightful condition to 
which it was reduced, was obliged to confess that the courage of this young cleric 
had vanquished him. He ordered a cessation of the torments, telling Vincent that 
if he could not be prevailed upon to offer sacrifice to the gods, he could at least give 
up the sacred books to be burnt, according to the edicts. The martyr answered 
that he feared torments less than false compassion. Dacian, more incensed than 
ever, condemned him to the most cruel of tortures — that of fire upon a kind of 
gridiron, called by the acts quaestio legitima, " the legal torture ". Vincent mounted 
cheerfully the iron bed, in which the bars were full of spikes made red-hot by the 
fire underneath. On this dreadful gridiron the martyr was stretched at full length, 
and his wounds were rubbed with salt, which the activity of the fire forced the 
deeper into his flesh. The flames, instead of tormenting, seemed, as St Augustine 
says, to give the martyr new vigour and courage, for the more he suffered, the greater 
seemed to be the inward joy and consolation of his soul. The rage and confusion 
of the tyrant exceeded all bounds : he completely lost his self-command, and was 
continually inquiring what Vincent did and said, but was always answered that he 
seemed every moment to acquire new strength and resolution. 

At last he was thrown into a dungeon, and his wounded body laid on the floor 
strewed with potsherds, which opened afresh his ghastly wounds. His legs were 
set in wooden stocks, stretched very wide, and orders were given that he should 
be left without food and that no one should be admitted to see him. But God sent 
His angels to comfort him. The gaoler, observing through the chinks the prison 
filled with light, and Vincent walking and praising God, was converted upon the 
spot to the Christian faith. At this news Dacian even wept with rage, but he 
ordered that the prisoner should be allowed some repose. The faithful were then 
permitted to see him, and coming they dressed his wounds, and dipped cloths in 
his blood, which they kept for themselves and their posterity. A bed was prepared 
for him, on which he was no sooner laid than his soul was taken to God. Dacian 
commanded his body to be thrown out upon a marshy field, but a raven defended 
it from beasts and birds of prey. The " acts " and a sermon attributed to St Leo 
add that it was then cast into the sea in a sack, but was carried to the shore and 
revealed to two Christians. 

The story of the translations and diffusion of the relics of St Vincent is confused 
and not very trustworthy. We hear of them not only in Valencia and Saragossa, 
but also in Castres (Aquitaine), Le Mans, Paris, Lisbon, Bari and other places. 
What is quite certain is that his cultus spread widely through the Christian world 
at a very early date, penetrating even to certain Eastern regions ; and he is named 

H3 


January 22] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

in the canon of the Milanese Mass. In early art the most characteristic emblem 
of St Vincent is the raven which is sometimes represented as perched upon a 
millstone. When we only have an image with a deacon's dalmatic and a palm- 
branch, it is almost impossible to decide whether it is intended for St Vincent, St 
Laurence or St Stephen. Vincent is honoured in Burgundy as the patron of 
vine-dressers, the explanation for which is probably to be found in the fact that 
his name suggests some connection with wine. 

In the above account Alban Butler has mainly followed the narrative of the poet Pruden- 
ius (Peristephanon, 5). The so-called " acts ", though included by Ruinart among his 
Acta sincera, have unquestionably been embroidered rather freely by the imagination of the 
compiler, who lived, it seems, centuries after the event. At the same time St Augustine in 
one of his sermons on St Vincent speaks of having the acts of his martyrdom before him, 
and it may possibly be that a much more concise summary, printed in the Analecta Bollandiana, 
vol. i (1882), pp. 259-262, represents in substance the document to which St Augustine 
refers. We can at least be assured of his name and order, the place and epoch of his martyr- 
dom, and his place of burial. See P. Allard, Histoire des persecutions, vol. iv, pp. 237-250 ; 
Delehaye, Les origines du culte des martyrs (1933), pp. 367-368 ; H. Leclercq, Les martyrs, 
vol. ii, pp. 437-439 ; Romische Quartalschrift, vol. xxi (1907), pp. 135-138. There is a good 
historical summary by L. de Lacger, St Vincent de Saragosse (1927) ; and a study of the 
passio by the Marquise de Maill£, Vincent d } Agen et Vincent de Saragosse (1949), on which 
cf. various papers by Fr B. de Gaiffier in Analecta Bollandiana. For the bishop St 
Valerius, see the Acta Sanctorum, January 28. 

ST BLESILLA, Widow (a.d. 383) 

But for the letters of St Jerome, very little would be known of the youthful widow 
St Blesilla, daughter of St Paula. On the death of her husband, after seven months 
of married life, Blesilla was attacked by fever. Yielding to the promptings 
of grace, she determined to devote herself to practices of devotion. After her 
sudden recovery she spent the rest of her short life in great austerity. St Jerome, 
writing to her mother, speaks in very high terms of her. She herself began 
to study Hebrew, and it was at her request that Jerome began his translation 
of the book of Ecclesiastes. St Blesilla died at Rome in 383 at the early age of 
twenty. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, January 22 ; and St Jerome's letters nos. 37, 38 and 39. St 
Blesilla is of course referred to in the more detailed lives of St Jerome and St Paula. 

ST ANASTASIUS THE PERSIAN, Martyr (a.d. 628) 

The wood of the cross of Christ when it was carried away into Persia by Chosroes 
in 614, after he had taken and plundered Jerusalem, nevertheless had its victories. 
Of one such victory Anastasius was the visible trophy. He was a young soldier in 
the Persian army. Upon hearing the news of the taking of the cross by his king, 
he grew inquisitive concerning the Christian religion, and its truths made such an 
impression on his mind that when he came back to Persia from an expedition he 
left the army and retired to Hierapolis. He lodged with a devout Persian Christian, 
a silversmith, with whom he often went to prayer. The sacred pictures which he 
saw made a great impression, and gave him occasion to inquire more, and to admire 
the courage of the martyrs whose sufferings were painted in the churches. At 
length he went to Jerusalem, where he received baptism from the bishop Modestus. 
In baptism he changed his Persian name Magundat into that of Anastasius, to 

144 


ST ANASTASIUS THE PERSIAN [January 22 

remind him, according to the meaning of that Greek word, that he had risen from 
death to a new and spiritual life. The better to fulfil his baptismal vows and 
obligations, he asked to become a monk in a monastery near Jerusalem. The 
abbot made him first study Greek and learn the psalter by heart ; then, cutting off 
his hair, he gave him the monastic habit in the year 621. 

The future martyr's first experiences of monastic life were not untroubled. He 
was assailed by all kinds of temptations, and by the recollection of the practices 
and superstitions which his father had taught him. He met these by a frank 
disclosure to his confessor of all his difficulties, and by extreme earnestness in 
prayer and monastic duties. He was haunted, however, by an intense desire to 
give his life for Christ, and after a time he went to Caesarea, then under Persian 
rule. Having boldly denounced their religious rites and superstitions, he was 
arrested and brought before Marzabanes the governor, when he confessed his own 
Persian birth and conversion to Christianity. Marzabanes sentenced him to be 
chained by the foot to another criminal, and his neck and one foot to be also linked 
together by a heavy chain, and condemned him in this condition to carry stones. 
The governor sent for him a second time, but could not prevail with him to 
renounce his faith. The judge then threatened he would write to the king if he 
did not comply. " Write what you please ", said the saint, " I am a Christian : 
I repeat it, I am a Christian." Marzabanes ordered him to be beaten. The 
executioners were preparing to bind him on the ground, but the saint declared that 
he had courage enough to lie down under the punishment without moving ; he 
only begged leave to put off his monk's habit, lest it should be treated with con- 
tempt, which only his body deserved. Having removed his outer garment he 
stretched himself on the ground, and did not stir all the time the cruel f orment 
continued. The governor again threatened to inform the king of his obstinacy. 
" Whom ought we rather to fear," said Anastasius, " a mortal man, or God who 
made all things out of nothing ? " The judge pressed him to sacrifice to fire, and 
to the sun and moon. The saint answered he could never acknowledge as gods 
creatures which God had made only for our use : upon which he was remanded 
to prison. 

His old abbot, hearing of his sufferings, sent two monks to assist him, and 
ordered prayers for him. The confessor, after carrying stones all the day, spent 
the greater part of the night in prayer, to the surprise of his companions, one of 
whom, a Jew, saw and showed him to others at prayer in the night, shining in 
brightness like a blessed spirit, and angels praying with him. As Anastasius was 
chained to a man condemned for a public crime, he prayed always with his neck 
bowed downwards, keeping his chained foot near his companion not to disturb 
him. Marzabanes let the martyr know that the king would be satisfied on condition 
he would only by word of mouth abjure the Christian faith, after which he might 
choose whether he would be an officer in the royal service or still remain a Christian 
and a monk, adding that he might in his heart always adhere to Christ, provided he 
would but for once renounce Him in words privately, in his presence, " in which ", 
he declared, " there could be no harm, nor any great injury to his Christ ". Anas- 
tasius answered firmly that he would never dissemble or seem to deny God. Then 
the governor told him that he had orders to send him bound into Persia to the king. 
" There is no need of binding me," said the saint. " I go willingly and cheerfully 
to suffer for Christ." On the day appointed, the martyr left Caesarea with- two 
other Christian prisoners, under guard, and was followed by one of the monks 

H5 


January 22] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

whom the abbot had sent. The acts of his martyrdom were afterwards written 
by this monk. 

Being arrived at Bethsaloe in Assyria, near the Euphrates, where the king then 
was, the prisoners were thrown into a dungeon till his pleasure was known. An 
officer came from Chosroes to interrogate the saint, who made answer to his 
magnificent promises, " My poor religious habit shows that I despise from my 
heart the gaudy pomp of the world. The honours and riches of a king, who must 
shortly die himself, are no temptation to me." Next day the officer returned and 
endeavoured to intimidate him by threats and upbraidings. But the saint said 
calmly, " Sir, do not give yourself so much trouble about me. By the grace of 
Christ I am not to be moved, so execute your pleasure without more ado." The 
officer caused him to be unmercifully beaten with staves, after the Persian manner. 
This punishment was inflicted on three days ; on the third the judge commanded 
him to be laid on his back, and a heavy beam pressed down by the weight of two 
men on his legs, crushing the flesh to the very bone. The martyr's tranquillity 
and patience astonished the officer, who went again to make his report to Chosroes. 
In his absence the gaoler, being a Christian by profession, though too weak to resign 
his place rather than detain such a prisoner, gave everyone access to the martyr. 
The Christians immediately filled the prison ; everyone sought to kiss his feet or 
chains, and kept as relics whatever had been sanctified by contact with him. The 
saint, confused and indignant, strove to hinder them, but could not. After further 
torments, Chosroes ordered that Anastasius and all the Christian captives should 
be put to death. Anastasius's two companions, with three score and six other 
Christians, were strangled one after another, on the banks of the river, before his 
face. He himself with eyes lifted to Heaven, gave thanks to God for bringing his 
life to so happy an end, and said he looked for a more lingering death, but seeing 
that God granted him one so easy, he embraced with joy this ignominious punish- 
ment of slaves. He was accordingly strangled, and after his death his head was 
cut ofT. 

This happened in the year 628, on January 22. Anastasius's body, among the 
other dead, was exposed to be devoured by dogs, but it was the only one they left 
untouched. It was afterwards redeemed by the Christians, who laid it in the 
monastery of St Sergius, a mile from the place of his triumph, which from that 
monastery was later on called Sergiopolis (now Rasapha, in Iraq). The monk who 
attended him brought back his colobium, a linen tunic without sleeves. The saint's 
body was afterwards carried to Palestine ; later it was removed to Constantinople, 
and lastly to Rome, where the relics were enshrined in the church of St Vincent. 
It is for this reason that these two quite unconnected martyrs are celebrated 
together in one feast. 

The seventh general council convened against the Iconoclasts proved the use of 
sacred pictures from the miraculous image of this martyr, then kept at Rome and 
venerated together with his head. These are said to be still in the church which 
bears the name of SS. Vincent and Anastasius. 

The Greek text of the Life of St Anastasius was published by H. Usener in 1894, and 
an early Latin version is in the Acta Sanctorum for January 22. A brief summary of the 
extracts read at the fourth session of the seventh oecumenical council in 787 will be found 
in Hefele-Leclercq, Conciles, vol. iii, p. 766, and the whole in Mansi, Concilia, vol. xiii, 
pp. 21-24 ; BHG., n. 6 ; BHL., n. 68. It is very difficult to understand upon what grounds 
St Anastasius is stated in the Carmelite Martyrology to have been " a monk of the Carmelite 
Order ". 

146 


BD WILLIAM PATENSON [January 22 

ST DOMINIC OF SORA, Abbot (a.d. 103 i) 

In the archives of Foligno in Etruria, the birthplace of this saint, it is stated that 
St Dominic's intercession was frequently invoked as a protection against thunder- 
storms. There seems to be no indication of the origin of this practice. It may 
be due to some incident in his early life of which the record is lost, for authentic 
documents take up the story of his career from the time that he became a monk. 
The whole of St Dominic's activities were devoted to the founding of Benedictine 
monasteries and churches in various parts of Italy, at Scandrilia, Sora, Sangro and 
in other towns. Each monastery that he founded was apparently given its own 
abbot, so that Dominic himself might be free to begin work in another place. The 
intervals between the various foundations were devoted to solitary prayer, until 
the saint received an intimation from God as to where he was to establish his next 
monastery. Yet in the midst of this busy life he found time to work for souls, and 
not infrequently the efforts he made to convert sinners were attended by striking 
miracles. Several of these are related by one who was probably an eye-witness, 
a monk named John, the disciple and constant companion of St Dominic. He died 
at the age of eighty in 103 1 at Sora in Campania. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, January, vols, ii and iii ; Analecta Bollandiana, vol. i (1882), 
pp. 279-322 ; and A. M. Zimmermann, Kalendarium benedictinum, vol. i (1933), pp. 114-117. 

ST BERHTWALD, Bishop of Ramsbury (a.d. 1045) 

St Berhtwald had been a monk of Glastonbury, and in 1005 ne : was consecrated 
bishop of Ramsbury, or, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle phrases it, " he succeeded 
to the bishop's stool of Wiltshire ". He was, in fact, the last bishop of Ramsbury, 
for in the time of his successor the see was removed to Old Sarum. Berhtwald, if 
we may trust the brief notices left us by William of Malmesbury and Simeon of 
Durham, seems to have been specially remembered by his contemporaries on 
account of his visions and prophecies, in which the Apostle St Peter was associated 
with the succession to the throne of St Edward the Confessor in 1042. St Berht- 
wald was a great benefactor to the abbey of Malmesbury as well as to his own abbey 
of Glastonbury, in which last he was buried after his death in 1045. 

See Stanton, Menology, pp. 31-32 ; DNB., vol. vi, p. 344. There seems to have been 
no public cultus. 

BD WILLIAM PATENSON, Martyr (a.d. 1592) 

William Patenson was a native of Durham. He studied for the priesthood at 
Rheims, where he was ordained in 1587 and was sent on the English mission fifteen 
months later. He ministered for a time in the western counties, but it was in 
London that he was arrested, just before the Christmas of 159 1. He had celebrated 
Mass at a house in Clerkenwell, and was breaking his fast with another priest when 
the pursuivants broke in. The other priest, Mr Young, got away, but Mr Patenson 
was taken, and brought up and condemned at the Old Bailey for being a seminary 
priest. There are two accounts of his zeal for the criminals with whom he was 
during his short time in prison : according to one of them he spent his last night 
in the condemned cell with seven convicted felons, and of these he brought six to 
repentance and the Church, so that they died publicly professing the Catholic faith. 
In consequence of this Bd William Patenson's execution at Tyburn was carried 

H7 


January 22] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

out deliberately without any mitigation of its atrocious cruelties, on January 22, 

See MMP., pp. 185-186 ; Pollen's Acts of English Martyrs ; and Catholic Record 
Society's publications, vol. v. 

ST VINCENT PALLOTTI, Founder of the Society of Catholic 
Apostolate (a.d. 1850) 

St Vincent Pallotti anticipated by a century the ideas of organized Catholic 
Action as set forth by Pope Pius XI, who called him its " pioneer and forerunner ". 
At a time when anything approaching an active apostolate was deemed to be purely 
the concern of clergy and religious, Don Pallotti envisaged a programme under 
three heads : A world-wide apostolate of all Catholics for the spreading of the 
faith among those who have it not ; a similar apostolate for the confirming and 
deepening of the faith of Catholics themselves ; a world-wide exercise of the works 
of mercy, spiritual and temporal. His own contribution to this programme was 
first of all his own life ; secondly, his inspiration of others with his ideas and 
aspirations ; thirdly, the establishment of a society of priests and brothers living 
the common life without vows, helped by an institute of sisters and by affiliated 
clergy and lay people. This organization he called the Society of Catholic 
Apostolate.* 

Vincent Pallotti was born in Rome, son of a well-to-do grocer, in 1795, and his 
vocation to the priesthood was foreshadowed at an early age, His beginnings at 
school were disappointing : " He's a little saint ", said his master, Don Ferri, 
" but a bit thick-headed ". However, he soon picked up, and was ordained priest 
when he was only twenty-three. He took his doctorate in theology soon after, and 
became an assistant professor at the Sapienza. Pallotti's close friendship with 
St Caspar del Bufaio increased his apostolic zeal, and he eventually resigned his 
post to devote himself to active pastoral work. 

Don Pallotti was in very great repute as a confessor, and filled this office at 
several Roman colleges, including the Scots, the Irish and the English, where he 
became a friend of the rector, Nicholas Wiseman. But he was not appreciated 
everywhere. When he was appointed to the Neapolitan church in Rome he 
endured persecution from the other clergy there of which the particulars pass 
belief. Equally astonishing is it that this went on for ten years before the author- 
ities took official notice and brought the scandal to an end. Bd Vincent's most 
implacable tormentor, the vice-rector of the church, lived to give evidence for him 
at the informative process of his beatification. " Don Pallotti never gave the least 
ground for the ill-treatment to which he was subjected ", he declared, " He always 
treated me with the greatest respect ; he bared his head when he spoke to me, he 
even several times tried to kiss my hand." 

St Vincent began his organized work for conversion and social justice with a 
group of clergy and lay people, from whom the Society of Catholic Apostolate 
developed in 1835. He wrote to a young professor : " You are not cut out for 
the silence and austerities of Trappists and hermits. Be holy in the world, in your 
social relationships, in your work and your leisure, in your teaching duties and your 

* Exception was taken to this name and it was changed to " Pious Society of Missions " ; 
in 1947 the original name was revived. The work of the Pallottini among immigrants is 
specially notable. They serve the English church at Rome, San Silvestro in Capite. 

148 


ST RAYMUND OF PENAFORT [January 23 

contacts with publicans and sinners. Holiness is simply to do God's will, always 
and every where. " Pallotti himself organized schools for shoemakers, tailors, 
coachmen, joiners and market-gardeners, to improve their general education and 
pride in their trade ; he started evening classes for young workers, and an institute 
to teach better methods to young agriculturalists. But he never lost sight of the 
wider aspects of his mission. In 1836 he inaugurated the observance of the 
Epiphany octave by the celebration of the Mysteries each day with a different rite, 
in special supplication for the reunion of Eastern dissidents : this was settled at the 
church of Sant' Andrea delle Valle in 1847, and has continued there annually ever 
since. 

It was well said that in Don Pallotti Rome had a second Philip Neri. How 
many times he came home half naked because he had given his clothes away ; how 
many sinners did he reconcile, on one occasion dressing up as an old woman to get 
to the bedside of a man who threatened — and meant it — to shoot the first priest 
who came near him ; he was in demand as an exorcist, he had knowledge beyond 
this world's means, he healed the sick with an encouragement or a blessing. St 
Vincent foresaw all Catholic Action, even its name, said Pius XI ; and Cardinal 
Pellegrinetti added, " He did all that he could ; as for what he couldn't do— well, 
he did that too." 

St Vincent Pallotti died when he was only fifty-five, on January 22, 1850. The 
chill that developed into pleurisy was perhaps brought on by giving away his cloak 
before a long sitting in a cold confessional. When viaticum was brought he 
stretched out his arms and murmured, " Jesus, bless the congregation : a blessing 
of goodness, a blessing of wisdom. . . ." He had not the strength to finish, " a 
blessing of power". He w T as beatified one hundred years later to the day, and 
canonized in 1963 during the Second Vatican Council. 

There are biographies in Italian by Orlandi and others, and a useful sketch in French by 
Maria Winowska (1950). The life by Lady Herbert was revised and reissued in America 
in 1942. 


23 


. ST RAYMUND OF PENAFORT (ad. 1275) 


THE family of Pefiafort claimed descent from the counts of Barcelona, and 
was allied to the kings of Aragon. Raymund was born in 1 175, at Pefiafort 
in Catalonia, and made such rapid progress in his studies that at the age 
of twenty he taught philosophy at Barcelona. This he did gratis, and with great 
reputation. When he was about thirty he went to Bologna to perfect himself in 
canon and civil law. He took the degree of doctor, and taught with the same 
disinterestedness and charity as he had done in his own country. In 1219 Beren- 
garius, Bishop of Barcelona, made Raymund his archdeacon and " official ". He 
was a perfect model to the clergy by his zeal, devotion and boundless liberalities to 
the poor. In 1222 he assumed the habit of St Dominic at Barcelona, eight months 
after the death of the holy founder, and in the forty-seventh year of his age. No 
one of the young novices was more humble, obedient or fervent than he. He 
begged of his superiors that they would enjoin him some severe penance to expiate 
the complacency which he said he had sometimes taken in his teaching. They, 
indeed, imposed on him a penance, but not quite such as he expected. It was to 
write a collection of cases of conscience for the convenience of confessors and 

149 


January 23] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

moralists. This led to the compilation of the Summa de casibus poenitentialibus , 
the first work of its kind. 

Raymund joined to the exercises of his solitude an apostolic life by labouring 
without intermission in preaching, instructing, hearing confessions, and converting 
heretics, Jews and Moors ; and he was commissioned to preach the war of the 
Spaniards against the last-named. He acquitted himself of his new duties with 
much prudence, zeal and charity, and in this indirect manner paved the way for 
the ultimate overthrow of the infidel in Spain. His labours were no less successful 
in the reformation of the morals of the Christians detained in servitude under the 
Moors, which had been corrupted by their long slavery and intercourse with these 
infidels. Raymund showed them that to triumph over their political foes they 
must first conquer their spiritual enemies, and subdue sin in themselves. Incul- 
cating these and the like spiritual lessons, he journeyed through Catalonia, Aragon, 
Castile and other countries. So general a change was wrought hereby in the 
manners of the people that it seemed incredible to all but those who were witnesses 
of it. 

It is commonly said that St Raymund of Pefiafort was associated with St Peter 
Nolasco in the foundation of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, usually called 
the Mercedarians, who were particularly concerned with ransoming captives among 
the Moors. This has given rise to keen controversy. The representatives of the 
order, and notably Father Gazulla, in several works contend that the Mercedarian 
Order was founded in 12 18, at a date earlier than that at which St Raymund 
became a Dominican. They allege further that a vision of our Lady was vouch- 
safed to St Peter Nolasco, their founder, and also simultaneously to King James of 
Aragon and to St Raymund, and that the institute which came into existence in 
consequence of this vision was originally a military order which owed nothing to 
Dominican influences. All these points have been strongly contested, more 
particularly in the works of Father Vacas Galindo, O.P. This writer urges that 
the Mercedarians, at first simply a confraternity, were not organized as a religious 
congregation before 1233, that St Raymund had founded the confraternity in 1222 
and had given it rules based upon the Dominican constitutions and office, that the 
supposed triple vision of our Lady was never heard of until two or three hundred 
years later, and so on. 

Pope Gregory IX, having called St Raymund to Rome in 1230, nominated him 
to various offices and took him likewise for his confessor, in which capacity 
Raymund enjoined the pope, for a penance, to receive, hear and expedite im- 
mediately all petitions presented by the poor. Gregory also ordered the saint 
to gather into one body all the scattered decrees of popes and councils since 
the collection made by Gratian in 1150. In three years Raymund completed his 
task, and the five books of the " Decretals " were confirmed by the same Pope 
Gregory in 1234. Down to the publication of the new Codex Juris Canonici in 
1 91 7 this compilation of St Raymund was looked upon as the best arranged part 
of the body of canon law, on which account the canonists usually chose it for 
the text of their commentaries. In 1235 tne P°P e named St Raymund to the 
archbishopric of Tarragona, the capital of Aragon : the humble religious was 
not able to avert the blow, as he called it, by tears and entreaties ; but the 
anxiety brought on a serious illness. To restore him to health his Holiness was 
obliged to consent to excuse him, but required that he should recommend a 
proper person. 

150 


ST RAYMUND OF PENAFORT [January 23 

For the recovery of his health St Raymund returned to his native country, and 
was received with as much joy as if the safety of the kingdom depended on his 
presence. Being restored again to his dear solitude at Barcelona he continued his 
former contemplation, preaching and work in the confessional. The number of 
conversions of which he was the instrument is known only to Him who by His 
grace was the author of them. Raymund was employed frequently in important 
commissions, both by the Holy See and by the king. In 1238, however, he was 
thunderstruck by the arrival of deputies from the general chapter of his order at 
Bologna with the news that he had been chosen third master general, Bd Jordan of 
Saxony having lately died. He wept and entreated, but at length acquiesced in 
obedience. He made the visitation of his order on foot without discontinuing any 
of his austerities or religious exercises. He instilled into his spiritual children a 
love of regularity, solitude, studies and the work of the ministry, and reduced the 
constitutions of his order into a clearer method, with notes on the doubtful passages. 
The code which he drew up was approved in three general chapters. In one held 
at Paris in 1239 ne procured the establishment of this regulation, that the voluntary 
resignation of a superior, founded upon just reasons, should be accepted. This 
he contrived in his own favour, for in the year following he resigned the generalship 
which he had held only two years. He grounded his action on the fact that he was 
now sixty-five years old. 

But St Raymund still had thirty-four years to live, and he spent them in the 
main opposing heresy and working for the conversion of the Moors in Spain. 
With this end in view, he engaged St Thomas to write his work Against the Gentiles ; 
he contrived to have Arabic and Hebrew taught in several convents of his order ; 
and he established friaries, one at Tunis, and another at Murcia, among the Moors. 
In 1256 he wrote to his general that ten thousand Saracens had received baptism. 
He was active in getting the Inquisition established in Catalonia ; and on one 
occasion he was accused — it is to be feared not without some reason — of com- 
promising a Jewish rabbi by a trick. 

A famous incident in St Raymund' s life is said to have taken place when he 
accompanied King James to the island of Majorca. The king, very loose in his 
relations with women, promised amendment, but failed to implement his promise ; 
whereupon Raymund asked leave to go back to Barcelona. The king not only 
refused, but threatened to punish with death any person who attempted to convey 
him out of the island. Full of confidence in God, Raymund said to his companion, 
" An earthly king withholds the means of flight, but the King of Heaven will 
supply them." He then walked to the sea and, we are told, spread his cloak 
upon the water, tied up one corner of it to a staff for a sail, and having made 
the sign of the cross, stepped upon it without fear whilst his companion stood 
trembling on the shore. On this new kind of vessel the saint was wafted with such 
rapidity that in six hours he reached the harbour of Barcelona, sixty leagues distant 
from Majorca. Those who saw him arrive in this manner met him with acclama- 
tions. But he, gathering up his cloak dry, put it on, stole through the crowd and 
entered his monastery. A chapel and a tower, built on the place where he is 
supposed to have landed, transmitted the memory of this miracle to posterity. 
During the saint's last illness, Alphonsus, King of Castile, and James of Aragon 
visited him, and received his final blessing. St Raymund gave up his soul to God 
on January 6 in the year 1275, the hundredth of his age. The two kings, with all 
the princes and princesses of their royal families, honoured his funeral with their 


January 23] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

presence ; but his tomb was rendered far more illustrious by miracles. Several 
(including the one related above) are recorded in the bull of his canonization, 
published in 1601. 

The principal materials for the life of St Raymund of Penafort have been printed by 
Fathers Balme and Paban under the title Raymandiana in the Monumenta Historic a O.P., 
vols, iv and vi, and an excellent general summary will be found in Mortier, Histoire des 
maitres generaux O.P., especially vol. i, pp. 225-272 and 400. The best life is said to be 
by F. Vails Taberner, San Ramon de Penyafort (1936). As for the connection of the saint 
with the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, whatever be the truth of the case there can be no 
doubt that a large number of spurious documents, mysteriously found at the right moment 
in an iron casket at the beginning of the seventeenth century, have been made use of in support 
of the Mercedarian thesis. The evidence upon many points is so unsatisfactory that it 
becomes extremely difficult to give unreserved credence to such incidents in St Raymund's 
life as his miraculous voyage from Majorca. See the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxxix (1921), 
pp. 209 seq. and vol. xl (1922), pp. 442 seq. Cf. St Peter Nolasco, on January 28. 

ST ASCLAS, Martyr (Third Century ?) 

The fame of St Asclas was great in Egypt and throughout the East, and he is 
commemorated in the Roman Martyrology. F ; s story, as epitomized in the 
synaxaries, runs as follows : " Asclas, a native of the Thebaid, was denounced for 
his faith in Christ and brought before Arrian the governor. Boldly confessing 
his belief, he was strung up, scourged until the flesh was torn in strips from his 
ribs, and then cast into prison. But the governor had to pass over the River Nile 
in a boat, and the saint prayed that he might never reach the opposite shore until 
he expressly acknowledged in writing the divinity of Christ. Arrian embarked, but 
the boat was held up and he could get no farther ; whereupon the saint, learning 
of this, sent him word that only by confessing the divinity of Christ could he reach 
dry land once more. Then the governor called for paper, and he wrote down that 
mighty was the God of the Christians and that there was no other beside Him. 
Straightway the boat made the passage, the governor landed, and sending for the 
saint caused his ribs to be burnt with torches. Then he had a great stone tied to 
him and cast him into the river. Thus it was that Asclas gained his crown of 
martyrdom." It can hardly be disputed from the very form of the story that a 
considerable legendary element is present. 

In the above quoted Synaxary of Constantinople (ed. H. Delehaye, p. 698) the feast is 
commemorated on May 20, but in the West on January 23. See also the Acta Sanctorum 
for this day, and Cheneau d'Orleans, Les saints d'Egypte, vol. i, pp. 183 seq. 

ST EMERENTIANA, Virgin and Martyr (c. a.d. 304 ?) 

According to the Roman Martyrology and the Breviary lesson for this day, St 
Emerentiana was the foster-sister of St Agnes, and consequently was of much the 
same age, but as yet only a catechumen. She was stoned to death two days after 
St Agnes's martyrdom, when praying beside her grave, and in this way received the 
baptism of blood. This story, which forms a kind of supplement to the " acts " 
of St Agnes, cannot be accepted as it stands, but there is evidence that there was 
a St Emerentiana, martyr, who was originally buried in the Coemeterium majus, a 
little farther along the Via Nomentana than the spot where the basilica dedicated 
to St Agnes was erected. Emerentiana was apparently honoured on September 16 
with SS. Victor, Felix and Alexander, but for some reason her remains were later 


ST JOHN THE ALMSGIVER [January 23 

transferred to the basilica just mentioned, and her story by means of legendary 
embellishments became entwined with that of St Agnes. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 21 and 23 ; and F. Jubaru, St Agnes (1909), pp. 
M5-I56. 

SS. CLEMENT and AGATHANGELUS, Martyrs (a.d. 308 ?) 

Concerning these two martyrs, although they are held in high honour in some 
oriental churches, and are commemorated on this day in the Roman Martyrology, 
we have no reliable knowledge of any sort. Clement is supposed to have devoted 
himself to the instruction of children and of the poor, to have been made bishop 
of Ancyra in Galatia at the age of twenty, and then, after arrest, to have been dragged 
from city to city, enduring incredible torments for years together, but repeatedly 
saved from death by a series of stupendous miracles. Agathangelus was a convert 
whom Clement made when he was brought to Rome. Having been ordained 
deacon Agathangelus shared the subsequent sufferings of his master. Both are 
said ultimately to have perished by the sword at Ancyra. The quite untrustworthy 
character of their " acts " has been recognized by all critics from Baronius and 
Tillemont downwards. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 23, and DHG. ( vol. i, c. 906. 

ST JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, Patriarch of Alexandria (a.d. 
619?) 

St John was of noble family, rich, and a widower, at x\mathus in Cyprus where, 
having buried all his children, he employed his income in the relief of the poor, and 
won the respect of all by his personal holiness. His reputation raised him to the 
patriarchal chair of Alexandria, about the year 608, at which time he was upwards 
of fifty years of age. St John came to this patriarchal chair when for generations 
Egypt had been torn by fierce ecclesiastical strife and Monophysism was every- 
where in the ascendant. " That is the background which the reader of St John's 
life must keep in mind ", writes Dr Baynes, " As patriarch he chose a better way — 
he would recommend orthodoxy to Egypt by a sympathy and charity that knew 
no limits." On his arrival in Alexandria St John ordered an exact list to be taken 
of his " masters ". Being asked who these were, he explained that he meant the 
poor, because they had such power in the court of Heaven to help those who had 
been good to them on earth. Their number amounted to seven thousand five 
hundred, and all these he took under his special protection. He published severe 
ordinances, but in the most humble terms, commanding all to use just weights and 
measures, in order to protect the poor from a very cruel form of oppression. He 
rigorously forbade all his officers and servants to take presents, seeing that these 
are no better than bribes, which bias the most impartial. Every Wednesday and 
Friday he sat the whole day on a bench before the church, that all might have free 
access to lay their grievances before him, and make known their necessities. 

One of his first actions at Alexandria was to distributt the eighty thousand 
pieces of gold which he found in the treasury of his church among the hospitals 
and monasteries. He consecrated to the service of the poor the great revenues of 
his see, then the first in all the East both in riches and dignity. Besides these, a 
continual stream of contributions flowed through his hands representing the alms 

*53 


January 23] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of those who were kindled by his example. When his stewards complained that 
he impoverished his church, his answer was that God would provide for them. To 
vindicate his action, he told them the story of a vision he had had in his youth, when 
a beautiful woman had appeared to him, with an olive garland on her head. This 
maiden, he was given to understand, represented Charity, or compassion for the 
poor, and she said to him : " I am the oldest daughter of the King. If you will 
be my friend, I will lead you to Him. No one has so much influence with Him 
as myself, since it was for me that He came down from Heaven to become man for 
the redemption of mankind. " 

When the Persians plundered Syria, and sacked Jerusalem, St John entertained 
the refugees who fled terror-stricken into Egypt, and sent to Jerusalem for the poor 
there, besides a large sum of money, corn, pulse, iron, fish, wine, and Egyptian 
workmen to assist in rebuilding the churches ; adding, in his letter to Modestus the 
bishop, that he wished it had been in his power to come in person and contribute 
by the labour of his hands to the carrying on of that work. No number of neces- 
sitous objects, no losses, no straits to which he saw himself often reduced, discour- 
aged him or made him lose his confidence in the divine providence, and resources 
never failed him in the end. When an unfortunate debtor, whom he had relieved 
with bountiful alms, expressed his gratitude over-warmly, the saint cut him short, 
saying, " Brother, I have not yet shed my blood for you, as Jesus Christ, my Master 
and my God, commands me to do." A certain merchant, who had been twice 
ruined by shipwrecks, had as often obtained help from the good patriarch, who the 
third time gave him a ship laden with corn. This vessel was driven by a storm to 
the British islands, and a famine raging there, the owners sold their cargo to great 
advantage, and brought back a handsome equivalent in exchange, one half in money, 
the other in tin. Silver was found in the tin, and this was attributed to the virtues 
of the saint. 

The patriarch lived himself in the greatest austerity and poverty. A person 
of distinction being informed that he had but one blanket on his bed, and this a 
sorry one, sent him a valuable rug, asking that he would make use of it for the sake 
of the donor. He accepted it and put it to the intended use, but it was only for 
one night, and this he passed in great uneasiness, with self-reproach for reposing 
in luxury while so many of his " masters " were miserably lodged. The next 
morning he sold it and gave the price to the poor. The friend, learning what had 
happened, bought it and gave it him a second and a third time, for the saint always 
disposed of it in the same way, saying with a smile, " We shall see who will get tired 
first ". Nor did St John spoil his approach to the problem of the indigent poor 
by too much finesse. He enjoyed getting money out of the wealthy, " and used 
to say that if with the object of giving to the poor anybody were able, without ill- 
will, to strip the rich right down to their shirts, he would do no wrong, more 
especially if they were heartless skinflints ". 

Nicetas, the governor, projected a new tax, which bore very harshly upon the 
poor. The patriarch modestly spoke in their defence. The governor in a passion 
left him abruptly. St John sent him this message towards evening, " The sun is 
going to set," putting him in mind of the advice of the apostle, " Let not the sun 
go down upon your anger ". This admonition had its intended effect. The 
governor came at once to the patriarch, asked his pardon, and by way of atonement 
promised never more to give ear to informers and tale-bearers. St John confirmed 
him in that resolution, adding that he never believed any man whatever against 

154 


ST ILDEPHONSUS [January 23 

another till he himself had examined the party accused, and that he made it a rule 
to punish all calumniators with such severity as would serve as a warning to others. 
Having in vain exhorted a certain nobleman to forgive one with whom he was at 
variance, he invited him to his private chapel to assist at Mass, and there desired 
him to recite with him the Lord's Prayer. The saint stopped at that petition, 
" Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us ". When 
the nobleman had recited it alone, John conjured him to reflect on what he had been 
saying to God in the hour of the tremendous mysteries, begging to be pardoned in 
the same manner as he forgave others. The other, deeply moved, fell at his feet, 
and from that moment was sincerely reconciled with his adversary. The saint 
often exhorted men against rash judgement, saying, " Circumstances easily deceive 
us : magistrates are bound to examine and judge criminals ; but what have private 
persons to do with the delinquencies of their neighbours, unless it be to vindicate 
them ? " Observing that many amused themselves outside the church during part 
of divine service, St John followed them out and seated himself among them, saying, 
" My children, the shepherd must be with his flock ". They were so abashed, we 
are told, by this gentle rebuke that they were never afterwards guilty of the same 
irreverence. And as he was one day going to church he was accosted on the road 
by a woman who demanded justice against her son-in-law, who had injured her. 
The woman being ordered by some standers-by to await the patriarch's return from 
church, he, overhearing them, said, " How can I expect that God will hear my own 
prayers if I disregard the petition of this woman ! " Nor did he stir from the place 
till he had redressed the grievance complained of. 

Nicetas persuaded the saint to accompany him to Constantinople to visit the 
Emperor Heraclius on the approach of the Persians in 619. At Rhodes, while on 
their way, St John was admonished from Heaven that his death was near at hand, 
and he said to Nicetas, " You invite me to the emperor of the earth ; but the King 
of Heaven calls me to Himself ". He therefore sailed back to his native Cyprus, 
and soon after died happily at Amathus, in 619 or 620. The body of St John was 
afterwards carried to Constantinople, where it was a long time. The Turkish 
sultan made a present of it to Matthias, King of Hungary, who constructed a shrine 
for it in his chapel at Buda. In 1530 it was translated to Tall, near Bratislava ; 
and, in 1632, to Bratislava itself, where it may still remain. The Greeks honour 
this saint on November 1 1 , the day of his death ; but the Roman Martyrology on 
January 23, the anniversary of the translation of his relics. 

A life of St John the Almsgiver was written by two contemporaries, John Moschus and 
Sophronius ; this is lost. A supplementary life by another contemporary, Bishop Leontius 
of Neapolis in Cyprus, survives. These two sources, however, were reduced by an early 
editor to a single text, which was published by Father Delehaye in 1927 (Analecta Bollandiana, 
vol. xlv, pp. 5-74). It was this version that was used by Simeon Metaphrastes for his 
tenth-century biography. N. H. Baynes and Elizabeth Dawes in Three Byzantine Saints 
(1948) give an English translation of the Moschus and Sophronius part of this text and of 
the original text of Leontius. Greek text of Leontius edited by H. Gelzer (1893) ; Latin 
translation by Anastasius the Librarian in Acta Sanctorum for January 23 ; Father P. Bedjan 
edited a Syriac version in vol. iv of his Acta martyrum et sanctorum. 

ST ILDEPHONSUS, Archbishop of Toledo (a.d. 667) 

The name Ildephonsus, or Hildephonsus, seems to be the original form from which 
the variants Alphonsus, Alfonso and Alonzo have subsequently developed. After 
St Isidore of Seville, St Ildephonsus, who in accordance with a somewhat unreliable 

155 


January 23] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

tradition is said to have been his pupil, has always been looked upon as one of the 
greatest glories of the Spanish church, which honours him liturgically as a doctor 
of the Church. He was of distinguished birth, the nephew of St Eugenius, 
Archbishop of Toledo, to whose office he afterwards succeeded. At an early age 
he became a monk in spite of parental opposition, and, joining the community of 
Agli (Agalia) near Toledo, he was eventually elected abbot, of that monastery. We 
know that he was ordained deacon about the year 630, and that, though only a 
simple monk, he founded and endowed a community of nuns in the neighbourhood. 
Whilst he held the office of abbot he attended the eighth and ninth councils of 
Toledo, held respectively in the years 653 and 655. His elevation to the archiepis- 
copal dignity seems to have taken place in 657. The enthusiastic encomiums of 
Julian, his contemporary and successor in the see, as well as the testimony of other 
eminent churchmen and the evidence afforded by the ardent devotion conspicuous 
in his own writings, prove abundantly that the choice was a worthy one, and that 
Ildephonsus possessed all the virtues which became his high office. He governed 
the church of Toledo for a little more than nine years, and died on January 23, 667. 
One feature which stands out very prominently in the literary work of St 
Ildephonsus, and more particularly in his tractate De virginitate perpetua sanctae 
Mariae, is the remarkable glow of enthusiasm, almost bordering upon extravagance, 
in the language he uses concerning our Blessed Lady. Edmund Bishop laid stress 
upon this trait in his valuable papers on " Spanish Symptoms ", and we may well 
believe it to be characteristic of the devotion of the saint as well as typical of the 
atmosphere in which he lived. It is not, therefore, surprising that a century after 
his death two legends grew up, both implying a recognition of his privileged position 
in relation to the Mother of God. According to one of these the martyr St 
Leocadia, who is one of the patrons of Toledo, rose out of her tomb when Ilde- 
phonsus was praying before it to thank him in the name of the Queen of Heaven 
for having vindicated the honour of her glorious mistress. The most salient feature 
of the other legend is that our Lady showed her gratitude to the saint by appearing 
to him in person seated upon his own episcopal throne, and by presenting him with 
a chasuble. This last story, with many embellishments, appears in nearly all the 
great collections of Marienlegenden which had such immense vogue in the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries. There seems, in any case, good reason to believe that the 
Marian element in certain Spanish liturgical documents was strongly coloured by 
the language which became prevalent at Toledo in the time of St Ildephonsus. 

The brief summary of the saint's career drafted by Julian, as well as the account by 
Cixila, will be found in the Acta Sanctorum for January 23, as also in the second vol. of 
Mabillon. See also the Dictionnaire de Theologie, vol. vii, cc. 739-744 ; the article by 
Herwegen in the Kirchliches Handlexikon ; E. Bishop, Liturgica Hisiorica, pp. 165-210 ; 
and A. Braegelmann, Life and Writings of St Ildephonsus of Toledo (1942), which summarizes 
the material. 

ST BERNARD, Archbishop of Vienne (a.d. 842) 

This St Bernard (often written Barnard) was born of a distinguished family about 
the year 778 ; in due course he entered the service of Charlemagne and married. 
About 800 he founded the abbey of Ambronay and later became a monk there, 
succeeding to the dignity of abbot. In 810 he was made archbishop of Vienne. 
Though our biographical materials are slight and of late date, everything points to 
the conclusion that he was one of the most influential as well as one of the most 

156 


BD MARGARET OF RAVENNA [January 23 

saintly prelates of that age. Although he does not seem always to have acted 
wisely in the political disturbances which followed in the time of Louis the Debonair, 
his zeal for the purity of the faith and for the maintenance of ecclesiastical discipline 
was never called in question. Two very complimentary letters which are supposed 
to have been addressed to him by Popes Paschal I and Eugenius II are, however, 
of doubtful authenticity. About the year 837 he founded the abbey of Romans, 
and there, after his death on January 23, 842, he was buried, a highly eulogistic 
epitaph, which is still preserved to us, being engraved upon his tomb. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 23 ; Analecta Boliandiana, vol. xi (1892), pp. 402 
seq. ; Duchesne, Fastes fipiscopaux, vol. i, pp. 148, 158, 201, 210 ; and DHG., vol. vi, 
cc. 858-859. 

ST LUFTHILDIS, Virgin (c. a.d. 850 ?) 

St Lufthildis, whose name is written in many varying forms — Leuchteldis, 
Liuthild, Lufthold, etc. — is one of those saints who seem to have inspired con- 
siderable local popular devotion, which is evidenced by place-names and folk 
traditions, but who have found no contemporary biographer to chronicle their acts. 
The principal feature in the story told concerning her by writers many centuries 
later in date was that in her youth she had much to suffer from a very cruel step- 
mother, who was provoked to fury by the child's love of giving to the poor. Even- 
tually Lufthildis left home to lead the life of a hermit, consecrating all her time to 
God in contemplation and the practice of penance. Popular devotion was excited 
by the miracles wrought after her death, and she is still honoured in the neighbour- 
hood of Cologne. Her tomb was opened to inspect the relics in 1623 and again 
in 1901. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 23 (appendix), and A. Steffens, Die heilige Lufthildis 
(1903). 

ST MAIMBOD, Martyr (a.d. 880 ?) 

St Maimbod, or Mainboeuf, is venerated on this day in the diocese of Besancon, 
and a church has been dedicated in his honour at Montbeliard in comparatively 
recent times. He is said to have been an Irishman by birth, and seems to have 
belonged to that class of peregrini, or wandering missionaries, of whom Dom L. 
Gougaud wrote in his Gaelic Pioneers of Christianity. We possess very little 
reliable information regarding him, but he is said to have been killed by a band of 
pagans when preaching in the neighbourhood of Kaltenbrunn in Alsace. 
When miracles began to be worked by his remains, Berengarius, Archbishop of 
Besancon, and a certain Count of Montbeliard, translated the relics to the chapel of 
Montbeliard, where they were destroyed in the sixteenth century during the wars 
of religion. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 23 ; and LIS., vol. i, p. 405. 

BD MARGARET OF RAVENNA, Virgin (a.d. 1505) 

Although the cultus of Bd Margaret does not seem to have been formally con- 
firmed, her biography occupies several pages in the Bollandist Acta Sanctorum. 
Margaret, a native of Russi, near Ravenna, is said to have lost her sight a few months 
after birth, but whether she was totally blind is not clear, for she was always able 

157 


January 24] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

to find her way into a church, a fact upon which her biographer comments naively, 
" This induces me to believe that, although blind, she saw what she wished to see ". 
Her early life seems to have been full of trials and sufferings, partly due to continued 
ill-health, partly to the offence given by her ascetical practices and love of retire- 
ment. She was accused of hypocrisy and in many ways persecuted, but in the 
end she gained the esteem of most of those who had most bitterly opposed her. In 
fact, some two or three hundred came at last to place themselves under her guidance 
and to form a religious association of persons living in the world which included 
both sexes, and admitted the married as well as the single. With the assistance of 
the Venerable Jerome Maluselli and others she drafted constitutions, but the 
organization as she conceived it did not take permanent root in Italy. On the other 
hand, after Margaret's death, Father Maluselli, discarding the rules which admitted 
laymen and women, founded on the same basis an order of clerks regular which 
was known as the Priests of the Good Jesus. Margaret herself always set an 
admirable example of the continual prayer, humility and cheerful patience which 
she wished to be characteristic of the institute which she had projected, and she 
was famous both for her miracles and for her prophecies. She died at the age of 
sixty-three on January 23, 1505. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 23 ; Kirchenlexikon, vol. vi, cc. 1462-1463 ; Heim- 
bucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen, vol. ii, pp. 35 seq. 


24 


• ST TIMOTHY, Bishop and Martyr (c. a.d. 97) 


ST TIMOTHY, the beloved disciple of St Paul, was probably a native of 
Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Gentile, but his mother Eunice a 
Jewess. She, with Lois, his grandmother, embraced the Christian religion, 
and St Paul commends their faith. Timothy had made the Holy Scriptures his 
study from early youth. When St Paul preached in Lycaonia the brethren of 
Iconium and Lystra gave Timothy so good a character that the apostle, being 
deprived of St Barnabas, took him for his companion, but first circumcised him at 
Lystra. St Paul refused to circumcise Titus, born of Gentile parents, in order to 
assert the liberty of the gospel, and to condemn those who affirmed circumcision 
to be still of precept in the New Law. On the other hand, he circumcised Timothy, 
born of a Jewess, that he might make him more acceptable to the Jews, and might 
show that he himself was no enemy of their law. Chrysostom here commends 
the prudence of Paul and, we may add, the voluntary obedience of the disciple. 
Then St Paul, by the imposition of hands, committed to him the ministry of 
preaching, and from that time regarded him not only as his disciple and most 
dear son, but as his brother and the companion of his labours. He calls him a 
man of God, and tells the Philippians that he found no one so truly united to him in 
spirit as Timothy. 

St Paul travelled from Lystra over the rest of Asia, sailed to Macedonia, and 
preached at Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. Being compelled to quit this last 
city by the fury of the Jews, he left Timothy behind him to confirm the new converts 
there. On arriving at Athens, however, St Paul sent for him, but learning that the 
Christians of Thessalonica lay under a very heavy persecution, he soon after deputed 
Timothy to go in his place to encourage them, and the disciple returned to St Paul, 

158 


ST TIMOTHY [January 24 

who was then at Corinth, to give him an account of his success. Upon this the 
apostle wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians. From Corinth St Paul went 
to Jerusalem, and thence to Ephesus, where he spent two years. In 58 he seems 
to have decided to return to Greece, and sent Timothy and Erastus before him 
through Macedonia to apprise the faithful of his intention, and to prepare the alms 
he wished to send to the Christians of Jerusalem. 

Timothy was afterwards directed to visit Corinth. His presence was needed 
there to revive in the minds of the faithful the doctrine which the apostle had taught 
them. The warm commendation of the disciple in 1 Corinthians xvi 10 no doubt 
has reference to this. Paul waited in Asia for his return, and then went with him 
into Macedonia and Achaia. St Timothy left him at Philippi, but rejoined him 
at Troas. The apostle on his return to Palestine was imprisoned, and after a two 
years' incarceration at Caesarea was sent to Rome. Timothy seems to have been 
with him all or most of this time, and is named by him in the title of his epistle to 
Philemon and in that to the Philippians. St Timothy himself suffered imprison- 
ment for Christ, and confessed His name in the presence of many witnesses, 
but was set at liberty. He was ordained bishop, it seems, as the result of a 
special inspiration of the Holy Ghost. St Paul having returned from Rome to 
the East, left St Timothy at Ephesus to govern that church, to oppose false 
teachers, and to ordain priests, deacons and even bishops. At any rate, 
Chrysostom and other fathers assume that the apostle committed to him the 
care of all the churches of Asia, and St Timothy is always described as the first 
bishop of Ephesus. 

St Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy from Macedonia, and his second from 
Rome, while there in chains, to press him to come to Rome, that he might see him 
again before he died. It is an out-pouring of his heart, full of tenderness towards 
this his dearest son. In it he encourages him in his many trials, seeks to revive in 
his soul that spirit of intrepidity and that fire of the Holy Ghost with which he was 
filled at his ordination, gives him instructions concerning the false brethren of the 
time, and predicts still further disorders and troubles in the Church. 

We learn that St Timothy drank only water, but his austerities having prejudiced 
his health, St Paul, on account of his frequent infirmities, directed him to take a 
little wine. Upon which Chrysostom observes, " He did not say simply ' take 
wine ' but ' a little wine ', and this not because Timothy stood in need of that 
advice but because we do ". St Timothy, it seems, was still young — perhaps about 
forty. It is not improbable that he went to Rome to confer with his master. We 
must assume that Timothy was made by St Paul bishop at Ephesus before St John 
arrived there. There is a strong tradition that John also resided in that city as 
an apostle, and exercised a general inspection over all the churches of Asia. St 
Timothy is styled a martyr in the ancient matyrologies. 

The " Acts of St Timothy ", which are in some copies ascribed to the famous 
Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, but which seem to have been written at Ephesus in 
the fourth or fifth century, and abridged by Photius, relate that under the Emperor 
Nerva in the year 97 St Timothy was slain with stones and clubs by the heathen ; 
he was endeavouring to oppose their idolatrous ceremonies on a festival called the 
Katagogia, kept on January 22, on which day they walked in troops, everyone 
carrying in one hand an idol and in the other a club. We have good evidence that 
what purported to be his relics were translated to Constantinople in the reign of 
Constantius. The supernatural manifestations said to have taken place at the 

159 


January 24] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

shrine are referred to as a matter of common knowledge both by Chrysostom and 
St Jerome. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 24. The Greek text of the so-called Acts of St 
Timothy has been edited by H. Usener, who, in view of the small admixture of the miraculous 
element, inclines to regard them as reproducing a basis, derived perhaps from some Ephesian 
chronicle, of historical fact. The absence of any reference to the translation of St Timothy's 
relics to Constantinople in 356 induces him to pronounce the composition of these " acts " 
to be earlier than that date. Cf. R. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, vol. ii, 
pt. 2, pp. 372 seq. ; and BHL., n. 1200 ; BHG., n. 135. 

ST BABYLAS, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr (c. a.d. 250) 

The most celebrated of the ancient bishops of Antioch after St Ignatius was St 
Babylas, who succeeded Zebinus about the year 240, but regrettably little is known 
about him. According to St John Chrysostom he was the bishop who, Eusebius 
reports, refused admittance to the church on Easter day in 244 to Philip the Arabian 
— alleged to be a Christian — till he had done penance for the murder of his pre- 
decessor the Emperor Gordian. St Babylas died a martyr during the persecution 
of Decius, probably in prison as Eusebius says, but Chrysostom states he was 
beheaded. 

St Babylas is the first martyr of whom a translation of relics is recorded. His 
body was buried at Antioch ; but in 351 the caesar Gallus removed it to a church 
at Daphne a few miles away to counteract the influence there of a famous shrine 
of Apollo, where oracles were given and the licentiousness was notorious. The 
oracles were indeed silenced, and in 362 Julian the Apostate ordered that the relics 
of the martyr be removed. Accordingly they were taken back to their former 
resting-place, the Christians accompanying them in procession, singing the psalms 
that speak of the powerlessness of idols and false gods. The following evening, we 
are told, the temple of Apollo was destroyed by lightning. A little later there was 
a third translation, made by the bishop St Meletius, to a basilica he built across 
the Orontes ; Meletius himself was buried next to St Babylas. 

See the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xix (1901), pp. 5-8, and the Acta Sanctorum for 
January 24, where two passions of St Babylas are printed, admittedly of no authority. 
Neither can the two panegyrics preached by Chrysostom be regarded as trustworthy historical 
sources, as Delehaye has shown in chap, ii of Les passions des martyrs . . . (1921), especially 
pp. 209 and 232. St Babylas, however, not only figures in the earliest Syriac martyrology, 
but was widely celebrated even in the West, and we have an account of him both in prose 
and verse written by St Aldhelm of Sherborne in the seventh century. These have been 
edited with the rest of Aldhelm's works by R. Ehwald in MGH., Auctores antiquissimi , 
vol. xv, pp. 274, 397. Cf. Tillemont, Memoires . . ., vol. iii, pp. 400-408 ; and Delehaye, 
Origines du culte v . . (1933), pp. 54, 58, etc. 

ST FELICIAN, Bishop of Foligno, Martyr (c. a.d. 254) 

The Roman Martyrology commemorates on this day an early bishop and patron 
of Foligno, St Felician, who is also regarded as the original apostle of Umbria. It 
is difficult to say how much foundation of fact may underlie the two Latin bio- 
graphies which have been preserved of him. He is represented as having always 
been given up to missionary labours, as a trusted disciple of Pope St Eleutherius, 
who ordained him priest, and then as the friend of Pope St Victor I, who conse- 
crated him bishop of Foligno. If we could trust the details given in the longer 

160 


BD MARCOL1NO OF FORL1 [January 24 

of the two lives, we should be able to claim that the earliest trace of the use of the 
pallium is met with in the account of the episcopal consecration of this saint : for 
the pope, we are told, granted to him as a privilege that he might wear a woollen 
wrap outwardly round his neck,* and with this is associated in the same context 
the duty of consecrating bishops outside of Rome. 

Felician was bishop for more than fifty years, but in the persecution of Decius 
he was arrested and, refusing to sacrifice to the gods, was tortured by the rack and 
repeated scourgings. While he lay in prison he was tended by a maiden, St 
Messalina, who in consequence of the devotion she showed to him was herself 
accused and required to offer sacrifice ; but remaining steadfast in the faith, was 
then tortured until released by death. Orders were given that Felician should be 
conveyed to Rome that he might suffer martyrdom there, but he died on the way, 
only three miles from Foligno, as a result of the torments and imprisonment he 
had undergone. He was ninety-four years of age, and had been fifty-six years a 
bishop. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 24 ; the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. ix (1890), pp. 
379-392 ; and A San Feliciano, protettore di Foligno (1933), short essays, with many pictures, 
ed. Mgr Faloci-Pulignani. 

ST MACEDONIUS {c. ad. 430) 

This Syrian ascetic is said to have lived for forty years on barley moistened in water 
till, finding his health impaired, he ate bread, reflecting that it tsus not lawful for 
him to shorten his life in order to shun labours and conflicts. This also was the 
direction he gave to the mother of Theodoret, persuading her, when in a poor state 
of health, to use proper food, which he said was a form of medicine. Theodoret 
relates many miraculous cures of sick persons, and of his own mother among them, 
wrought by water over which Macedonius had made the sign of the cross. He 
adds that his own birth was the effect of the anchoret's prayers after his mother 
had lived childless in marriage thirteen years. The saint died when ninety years 
old, and is named in the Greek menologies. 

Practically all our information comes from Theodoret's Historia religiosa (see Migne, 
PO., vol. lxxxii, 1399), but Macedonius' also has a paragraph in the Synaxary of Constanti- 
nople (ed. Delehaye, pp. 457-458), under date February 11. Cf. also DCB., vol. iii, p. 778 ; 
and the Acta Sanctorum for January 24. 

BD MARCOLINO OF FORLI (ad. 1397) 

The family name of Bd Marcolino was Amanni, and he is said to have entered 
the Dominican noviceship when only ten years old. The qualities most remarked 
in him were his exact observance of rule, his love of poverty and obedience, but 
especially a spirit of great humility which led him to avoid all occasions of drawing 
notice upon himself and to find his supreme contentment in undertaking the lowliest 
and most menial offices. We are told also that he practised rigorous bodily 
penance, that he was a lover of the poor and of little children, and that he was 
favoured with continual ecstasies. He spent so much time in praying upon his 
knees that calluses had formed there, as was discovered after his death. Bd 
Raymund of Capua, master general of the Dominicans, had a high opinion of 

* " Concessit ut extrinsecus lineo [probably an error for laneo] sudario circumdaretur 
collo ejus " (Analecta Bollandiana, vol. ix, p. 383). 

l6l 


January 25] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Father Marcolino, though he was unable to make use of him in carrying out the 
reform of the Order of Preachers after the ravages of the Black Death and the 
troubles which followed on the Great Schism, because of his retiring disposition. 
Father Marcolino, who is said to have foretold the time of his own death, passed 
away at Forli on January 2, 1397, at the age of eighty. To the surprise of his 
brethren, who had failed to appreciate his holiness, a great concourse attended his 
funeral, drawn thither, we are told, by an angel who in the guise of a child gave 
notice of it in all the surrounding district. The cultus was confirmed in 1750. 

Our knowledge of Bd. Marcolino is largely based on certain letters of Bd John Dominici. 
See Mortier, Histoire des Maitres Generaux O.P., vol. iii, pp. 564-568 ; and Procter, Short 
Lives, pp. 13-15. 


25 


I THE CONVERSION OF ST PAUL (ad. 34) 


THE Apostle of the Gentiles was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. At his 
circumcision on the eighth day after his birth he received the name of Saul, 
and being born at Tarsus in Cilicia he was by privilege a Roman citizen. 
His parents sent him when young to Jerusalem, and there he was instructed in 
the law of Moses by Gamaliel, a learned and noble Pharisee. Thus Saul became 
a scrupulous observer of the law, and he appeals even to his enemies to bear witness 
how conformable to it his life had always been. He too embraced the party of 
the Pharisees, which was of all others the most severe, even while it was, in some 
of its members, the most opposed to the humility of the gospel. It is probable 
that Saul learned in his youth the trade which he practised even after his apostleship 
— namely, that of making tents. Later on Saul, surpassing his fellows in zeal for 
the Jewish law and traditions, which he thought the cause of God, became a perse- 
cutor and enemy of Christ. He was one of those who took part in the murder 
of St Stephen, and by looking after the garments of those who stoned that holy 
martyr he is said by St Augustine to have stoned him by the hands of all the rest. 
To the martyr's prayers for his enemies we may ascribe Saul's conversion. " If 
Stephen ", St Augustine adds, " had not prayed, the Church would never have 
had St Paul." 

As our Saviour had always been represented by the leading men of the Jews as 
an enemy to their law, it was no wonder that this rigorous Pharisee fully persuaded 
himself that " he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of 
Nazareth ", and his name became everywhere a terror to the faithful, for he 
breathed nothing but threats and slaughter against them. In the fury of his zeal 
he applied to the high priest for a commission to arrest all Jews at Damascus who 
confessed Jesus Christ, and bring them bound to Jerusalem. But God was pleased 
to show forth in him His patience and mercy. Saul was almost at the end of his 
journey to Damascus when, about noon, he and his company were on a sudden 
surrounded by a great light from Heaven. They all saw this light, and being struck 
with amazement fell to the ground. Then Saul heard a voice which to him was 
articulate and distinct, though not understood by the rest : " Saul, Saul, why dost 
thou persecute me ? " Saul answered, " Who art thou, Lord ? " Christ said, 
" Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against 
the goad." In other words, by persecuting My church you only hurt yourself. 

162 


THE CONVERSION OF ST PAUL [January 25 

Trembling and astonished, he cried out, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? " 
Christ told him to arise and proceed on his journey to his destination, where he 
would learn what was expected of him. When he got up from the ground Saul 
found that though his eyes were open he could see nothing. He was led by the 
hand like a child to Damascus, and was lodged in the house of a Jew named Judas, 
and there he remained three days, blind, and without eating or drinking. 

There was a Christian in Damascus much respected for his life and virtue, 
whose name was Ananias. Christ appeared to this disciple and commanded him 
to go to Saul, who was then in the house of Judas at prayer. Ananias trembled 
at the name of Saul, being no stranger to the mischief he had done in Jerusalem, 
or to the errand on which he had travelled to Damascus. But our Redeemer 
overruled his fears, and charged him a second time to go, saying, " Go, for he is 
a vessel of election to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the children 
of Israel : and I will show him how much he has to suffer for my name." Saul 
in the meantime sjb.w in a vision a man entering, and laying his hands upon him to 
restore his sight. Ananias arose, went to Saul, and laying his hands upon him 
said, " Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to thee on thy journey, hath 
sent me that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." 
Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his sight. 
Ananias went on, " The God of our fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldst 
know His will and see the Just One and hear the voice from His mouth : and thou 
shalt be His witness to all men of what thou hast seen and heard. Why dost thou 
tarry ? Arise, be baptized and washed from thy sins, invoking the name of the 
Lord." Saul arose, w r as baptized, and ate. He stayed some days with the disciples 
at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues that Jesus was 
the Son of God, to the great astonishment of all that heard him, who said, " Is not 
this he who at Jerusalem persecuted those who called on the name of Jesus, and 
who is come hither to carry them away prisoners ? " Thus a blasphemer and a 
persecutor was made an apostle, and chosen to be one of the principal instruments 
of God in the conversion of the world. 

St Paul can never have recalled to mind this his conversion without the deepest 
gratitude and without extolling the divine mercy. The Church, in thanksgiving 
to God for such a miracle of His grace and to propose to penitents a perfect model 
of true conversion, has instituted this festival, which was for some time a holiday 
of obligation in most churches in the West ; and we find it particularly mentioned 
as such in England in the thirteenth century, an observance possibly introduced 
by Cardinal Langton. 

It is difficult to assign any reason for the keeping of a feast of the conversion 
of St Paul on this particular day. The earliest text of the " Hieronymianum " 
mentions on January 25, not the conversion, but the " translation of St Paul ". 
The translation in question could hardly be other than the bringing of the relics 
of the apostle to his own basilica after their sojourn of nearly a century in their 
resting-place ad Catacumbas. But this commemoration of St Paul on January 25 
does not appear to be a Roman feast. There is no mention of it either in the early 
Gelasian or Gregorian sacramentaries. On the other hand, we find a proper 
Mass in the Missale Gothicum, and the festival is entered in the martyrologies of 
Gellone and Rheinau. Some texts, like the Berne MS. of the Hieronymianum, 
show traces of a transition from " translation " to " conversion ". The calendar 
of the English St Willibrord, wTitten before the year 717, has the entry, Conversio 

163 


January 25] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Pauli in Damasco ; while the Martyrologies of Oengus and Tallaght (both early 
ninth century) refer explicitly to baptism and conversion. 

See the Acts of the Apostles, chaps, ix, xxii and xxvi. For the translation of St Paul's 
remains from St Sebastian's to his basilica, see De Waal in the Romische Quartalschrift, 
1 90 1, pp. 244 seq., and Styger, 77 monumento apostolico delta Via Appia (191 7). For a 
reference to the feast, see Christian Worship (191 9), p. 281, where Mgr Duchesne points 
out that the Mass for Sexagesima Sunday is really in honour of St Paul. And cf. CMH., 
pp. 61-62, and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xlv (1927), pp. 306-307. 

ST ARTEMAS, Martyr (Date Unknown) 

We may fairly be satisfied that St Artemas has a just claim to be honoured as a 
saint. He was depicted and his name was inscribed in the mosaics which adorned 
the cupola of the ancient basilica of San Prisco near Capua. These mosaics, now 
unfortunately destroyed, were believed to date from about the year 500. We know 
also from the " Hieronymianum " that St Artemas was venerated, and is supposed 
to have suffered, at Pozzuoli, which is not very far from Capua. Beyond this we 
have no trustworthy information. But at a late date a story seems to have been 
connected with his name that Artemas, though hardly more than a boy himself, 
was teaching other boys, that he was denounced as a Christian, and that he was 
stabbed to death by his pupils with their styluses (sharp-pointed instruments used 
for writing on wax tablets). But this story is also told of St Cassian of Imola, 
and still earlier of St Mark of Arethusa ; and there can be little doubt that it has 
been borrowed from these sources and adapted to St Artemas in default of any 
more authentic details concerning him. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 25 ; and Pio Franchi de' Cavalieri in Studi e 
Testi, vol. ix, p. 68. 

SS. JUVENTINUS and MAXIMINUS, Martyrs (a.d. 363) 

These martyrs were two officers of distinction in the foot-guards of Julian the 
Apostate. When he was on the march in his campaign against the Persians, they 
let fall at table certain free reflections on the impious laws made against the Chris- 
tians, wishing rather for death than to see the profanation of holy things. The 
emperor being informed of this, sent for them, and finding that they could not be 
prevailed upon to retract what they had said or to sacrifice to idols, he confiscated 
their estates, ordered them to be scourged, and some days after had them beheaded 
in prison at Antioch, January 25, 363. Christians, at the risk of their lives, stole 
away the bodies, and after the death of Julian, who was slain in Persia on June 26 
following, erected a magnificent tomb to do them honour. On their festival 
Chrysostom delivered a panegyric, in which he says of these martyrs : " They 
support the Church as pillars, defend it as towers and are as unyielding as rocks. 
Let us visit them frequently, let us touch their shrine and embrace their relics 
with confidence, that we may obtain from thence some benediction. For as 
soldiers, showing to the king the wounds which they have received in his battles, 
speak with confidence, so they, by a humble representation of their past sufferings 
for Christ, obtain whatever they ask of the King of Heaven." 

The scanty details recorded concerning these martyrs are mainly furnished by St John 
Chrysostom's panegyric. In the above quoted passage, which Butler has translated very 
freely, the orator rather quaintly pictures them pleading before the throne of God by holding 

164 


ST APOLLO [January 25 

up before Him in their hands the heads which had been cut off. Severus of Antioch, in a 
hymn composed in their honoui, mentions a third martyr, Longinus, who perished in their 
company (Patrologia Orientalis, vol. vii, p. 611). See also the Acta Sanctorum for January 
25 ; and cf. Delehaye, Les origines du culte . . . (1933), p. 196, and Les passions des martyrs 
. . . pp. 228 and 230. 

ST PUBLIUS, Abbot (c. a.d. 380) 

St Publius is honoured principally by the Greeks. He was the son of a senator 
in Zeugma upon the Euphrates, and sold his estate and goods for the benefit of 
the poor. Though he lived at first as a hermit, he afterwards became the ruler of 
a numerous community. He allowed his monks no other food than vegetables 
and very coarse bread ; they drank nothing but water, and he forbade cheese, 
grapes, vinegar and even oil, except from Easter to Whitsuntide. To remind 
himself of the need of a continual advance in fervour, he added every day something 
to his exercises of penance and devotion. He was also remarkably earnest in 
avoiding sloth, being sensible of the inestimable value of time. Theodoret tells 
us that the holy abbot founded two congregations, the one of Greeks, the other of 
Syrians, each using their own tongue in the divine offices and Holy Mysteries. 
St Publius seems to have died about the year 380. 

We know little or nothing of St Publius beyond what is recorded of him by Theodoret 
in his book Philotheus. See the Acta Sanctorum for January 25 ; and Delehaye, Synaxarium 
Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, pp. 423-424. 

ST APOLLO, Abbot (c. a.d. 395) 

After passing many years in a hermitage, Apollo, who was then close upon eighty 
years old, formed and governed a community of many monks near Hermopolis. 
They all wore the same coarse white habit, all received holy communion every day, 
and the venerable abbot made them also a daily exhortation for the profit of their 
souls. In these he insisted often on the evils of melancholy and sadness, saying 
that cheerfulness of heart is necessary amidst our tears of penance as being the 
fruit of charity, and requisite to maintain the spirit of fervour. He himself was 
known to strangers by the joy of his countenance. He made it his constant 
petition to God that he might know himself and be preserved from the subtle 
illusions of pride. It is said that on one occasion, when the devil quitted a possessed 
person at his command, the evil spirit cried out that he was not able to withstand 
his humility. Many astonishing miracles are recorded of him, of which perhaps 
the most remarkable was a continuous multiplication of bread, by which in a time 
of famine not only his own brethren but the whole surrounding population were 
sustained for four months. The saint received a visit from St Petronius, afterwards 
bishop of Bologna, in 393, but this, it would seem, must have been at the very 
end of his life, when he was over ninety years old. 

For our knowledge of St Apollo we are mainly indebted to a long section of the Historia 
monachorum, which was formerly regarded as forming part of the Lausiac History of Palladius, 
but which is now recognized as a separate work, probably written in Greek by the Archdeacon 
Timotheus of Alexandria. An English translation from the ancient Syriac version has been 
published by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge in the work entitled The Book of Paradise of Palladius 
(1904), vol. i, pp. 520-538. The Greek text had been edited by Preuschen in his Palladius 
und Rufinus (1897). See also the Acta Sanctorum for January 25 ; and P. Cheneau, Les 
Saints d'Egypte (1923), vol. i, pp. 218-225. 

165 


January 25] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST PRAEJECTUS, or PRIX, Bishop of Clermont, Martyr (a.d. 676) 

The episcopal see of Auvergne in the early days was honoured with many holy 
bishops, of whom the Christian poet, St Sidonius Apollinaris, was one of the most 
famous. Later on the title of bishops of Auvergne was changed into that of 
Clermont, from the city of this name. St Praejectus (called in France variously 
Priest, Prest, Preils and Prix) was a native of Auvergne, trained up in the service 
of the Church under the care of St Genesius, Bishop of Auvergne, well skilled in 
plainsong, in Holy Scripture and church history. About the year 666 he was called 
by the voice of the people, seconded 'by Childeric II, King of Austrasia, to the 
episcopal dignity, upon the death of Felix, Bishop of Auvergne. Partly by his 
own ample patrimony, and partly through the liberality of Genesius, Count of 
Auvergne, he was enabled to found several monasteries, churches and hospitals ; 
so that distressed persons in his extensive diocese were provided for, and a spirit 
of religious fervour reigned. This was the fruit of the unwearied zeal, assiduous 
exhortations and admirable example of the holy prelate, whose learning, eloquence 
and piety are greatly extolled by his contemporary biographer. Praejectus restored 
to health St Amarin, the abbot of a monastery in the Vosges, who was afterwafds 
his companion in martyrdom. 

As the result of an alleged outrage by Hector, the patricius of Marseilles — an 
incident very differently recounted by writers of different sympathies — Hector, 
after a visit to court, was arrested and executed by Childeric's orders. One 
Agritius, imputing his death to the complaints carried to the king by St Praejectus, 
thought to avenge him by organizing a conspiracy against him. With twenty 
armed men he met the bishop as he returned from court at Volvic, two leagues 
from Clermont, and first slew the abbot St Amarin, whom the assassins mistook 
for the bishop. St Praejectus, perceiving their design, courageously stepped 
forward, and was stabbed by a Saxon named Radbert. The saint, receiving this 
wound, said, " Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, for they know not what they 
do ". Another of the assassins clove his head with a sword, and scattered his 
brains. This happened in 676, on January 25. The veneration which the 
Gallican churches paid to the memory of this martyr began from the time of his 
death, and many miracles immediately afterwards were recorded at his tomb. 

The text of the Life of St Praejectus has in modern times been edited and carefully 
annotated by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. v, pp. 212-248. Krusch is of 
opinion that, though the author does not seem to have known the saint personally, he was 
a contemporary, and probably a monk of Volvic in Puy-de-D6me. It is one of the most 
trustworthy and interesting of Merovingian hagiographical documents. The greater part 
of the relics of St Praejectus were afterwards translated to the abbey of Flavigny in Burgundy. 
See also Acta Sanctorum for January 25 ; and Duchesne, Fastes iSpiscopaux, vol. ii, pp. 37-38. 

ST POPPO, Abbot (a.d. 1048) 

St Poppo was born in Flanders in 978, and was brought up by a most virtuous 
mother, who died a nun at Verdun. In his youth he served for some time in the 
army ; but even in the world he found meditation and prayer to be sweeter than 
all the delights of the senses, and he renounced his profession and the marriage 
which had been arranged for him. He had previously visited the holy places at 
Jerusalem and brought away many relics, with which he enriched the church of 
our Lady at Deynze. He also made a pilgrimage to Rome, and some time after 

166 


ST POLYCARP [January 26 

took the monastic habit at St Thierry's, near Rheims. Richard, Abbot of Saint- 
Vanne, one of the great monastic reformers of the age, met Poppo about the year 
1008, and found in him a man singularly well fitted to assist him in this work. Not 
without great difficulty he managed to get Poppo transferred to his own monastery, 
and then used him to restore observance in several abbeys, Saint-Vaast at Arras, 
Beaulieu, and others. St Poppo, who gradually became independent of Richard 
of Saint- Vanne, seems, on being appointed abbot of Stavelot, to have acted as a 
sort of abbot general to a whole group of monasteries in Lotharingia. In these he 
was revered and preserved admirable discipline. He was much esteemed by the 
emperor, St Henry II, and he seems in many political matters to have given him 
prudent counsel. He died at Marchiennes on January 25 in 1048, being seventy 
years of age. St Poppo received the last anointing at the hands of Everhelm, 
Abbot of Hautmont, who afterwards wrote his life, or, more correctly, revised 
the longer biography composed by the monk Onulf. 

A critical edition of the life which we owe to Onulf and Abbot Everhelm is to be found 
in the folio series of MGIL, Scriptores, vol. xi, pp. 291-316. See also the Acta Sanctorum 
for January 25 ; Cauchie in the Biographie Nationale, vol. xviii, pp. 43 seq. ; and a 
sketch by M. Souplet, St Poppon de Deynse (1948). 


26 


ST POLYCARP, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr (a.d. 155 ?) 


ST POLYCARP was one of the most famous of the little group of early 
bishops known as " the Apostolic Fathers ", who, being the immediate 
disciples of the apostles, received instruction directly from them, as it were 
from the fountain head. Polycarp was a disciple of St John the Evangelist, and 
was respected by the faithful to the point of profound veneration. He trained 
many holy disciples, among whom were St Irenaeus and Papias. When Florinus, 
who had often visited St Polycarp, had broached certain heresies, St Irenaeus 
wrote to him : " These things were not taught you by the bishops who preceded 
us. I could tell you the place where the blessed Polycarp sat to preach the word 
of God. It is yet present to my mind with what gravity he everywhere came in 
and went out ; what was the sanctity of his deportment, the majesty of his counten- 
ance, and of his whole exterior ; and what were his holy exhortations to the people. 
I seem to hear him now relate how he conversed with John and many others who had 
seen Jesus Christ, the words he had heard from their mouths. I can protest before 
God that if this holy bishop had heard of any error like yours, he would have 
immediately stopped his ears and cried out, according to his custom, ' Good God ! 
that I should be reserved to these times to hear such things ! ' That very instant 
he would have fled out of the place in which he had heard such doctrine. " We 
are told that St Polycarp met at Rome the heretic Marcion in the streets, who, 
resenting the fact that the bishop did not take that notice of him which he expected, 
said, " Do not you know me ? " " Yes ", answered the saint, " I know you, the 
first-born of Satan." He had learned this abhorrence of those who adulterate 
divine truth from his master St John, who fled from the baths at the sight of 
Cerinthus. 

St Polycarp kissed the chains of St Ignatius when he passed by Smyrna on the 
road to his martyrdom, and Ignatius in turn recommended to him the care of his 

167 


January 26] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

distant church of Antioch, supplementing this charge later on by a request that 
he would write in his name to those churches of Asia to which he had not leisure 
to write himself. Polycarp addressed a letter to the Philippians shortly after, 
which is highly commended by St Irenaeus, St Jerome, Eusebius, Photius and 
others, and is still extant. This letter, which in St Jerome's time was publicly read 
in the Asiatic churches, is justly admired both for the excellent instructions it 
contains and for the perspicuity of the style. Polycarp undertook a journey to 
Rome to confer with Pope St Anicetus about certain points, especially about the 
time of keeping Easter, for the Asiatic churches differed from others in this matter. 
Anicetas could not persuade Polycarp, nor Polycarp Anicetus, and so it was agreed 
that both might follow their custom without breaking the bonds of charity. St 
Anicetus, to testify his respect, asked him to celebrate the Eucharist in his own 
papal church. We find no further particulars concerning Polycarp recorded before 
his martyrdom. 

In the sixth year of Marcus Aurelius (according to Eusebius) a violent perse- 
cution broke out in Asia in which the faithful gave heroic proof of their courage. 
Germanicus, who had been brought to Smyrna with eleven or twelve other Chris- 
tians, signalized himself above the rest, and animated the most timorous to suffer. 
The proconsul in the amphitheatre appealed to him compassionately to have some 
regard for his youth when life had so much to offer, but he provoked the beasts 
to devour him, the sooner to quit this wicked world. One Quintus, a Phrygian, 
quailed at the sight of the beast let loose upon him, and consented to sacrifice. 
The authors of this letter justly condemn the presumption of those who offered 
themselves to suffer (as Quintus had done), and say that the martyrdom of Polycarp 
was conformable to the gospel, because he did not expose himself but waited till 
the persecutors laid hands on him, as Christ our Lord taught us by His own example. 
The splendid courage of Germanicus and his companions only whetted the 
spectators' appetite for blood. A cry was raised : " Away with the atheists ! 
Look for Polycarp 1 " The holy man, though fearless, had been prevailed upon 
by his friends to conceal himself in a neighbouring village during the storm. 
Three days before his martyrdom he in a vision saw his pillow on fire, from which 
he understood, and foretold to his companions, that he should be burnt alive. 
When the persecutors came in search of him he changed his retreat, but was 
betrayed by a slave, who was threatened with the rack unless he disclosed his 
whereabouts. 

When the chief of police, Herod, sent horsemen by night to surround his 
lodging, Polycarp was above stairs in bed, but refused to make his escape, saying, 
" God's will be done ". He went down, met them at the door, ordered them 
supper, and desired only some time for prayer before he went with them. This 
granted, he began his prayer standing, which he continued for two hours, recom- 
mending to God his own flock and the whole Church with such intense devotion 
that some of those who had come to seize him repented of their errand. They 
set him on an ass, and were conducting him towards the city, when he was met on 
the road by Herod and Herod's father, Nicetas, who took him into their chariot 
and endeavoured to persuade him to some show of compliance. " What harm ", 
they urged, " is there in saying Lord Caesar, or even in offering incense, to escape 
death ? " The word Lord, however, was not as innocent as it sounded, and 
implied a recognition of the divinity of the emperor. The bishop at first was silent, 
but being pressed, he gave them resolute answer, " I am resolved not to do what 

168 


ST POLYCARP [January 26 

you counsel me ". At these words they thrust him out of the chariot with such 
violence that his leg was bruised by the fall. 

The holy man went forward cheerfully to the place where the people were 
assembled. Upon his entering it a voice from Heaven was heard by many, " Be 
strong, Polycarp, and play the man ". He was led to the tribunal of the proconsul, 
who exhorted him to have regard for his age, to swear by the genius of Caesar, and 
to say, " Away with the atheists ", meaning the Christians. The saint, turning 
towards the crowd of ungodly people in the stadium, said, with a stern countenance, 
" Away with the atheists ! " The proconsul repeated, " Swear by the genius of 
Caesar, and I will discharge you ; revile Christ ". Polycarp replied, " Fourscore 
and six years have I served Him and He hath done me no wrong. How then can 
I blaspheme my King and my Saviour ? If you require of me to swear by the 
genius of Caesar, as you call it, hear my free confession : I am a Christian ; and 
if you desire to learn the doctrines of Christianity, appoint a time and hear me." 
The proconsul said, " Persuade the people ". The martyr replied, " I address 
myself to you ; for we are taught to give due honour to princes, so far as is consistent 
with religion. But before these people I cannot justify myself." Indeed, rage 
rendered them incapable of hearing him. 

The proconsul threatened : " I have wild beasts ". " Call for them ", replied 
the saint, " for we are unalterably resolved not to change from good to evil. It 
is only right to pass from evil to good." The proconsul said, " If you despise the 
beasts, I will cause you to be consumed by fire ". Polycarp answered, " You 
threaten me with a fire which burneth for a season, and after a little while is 
quenched ; but you are ignorant of the judgement to come and of the fire of ever- 
lasting punishment which is prepared for the wicked. Why do you delay ? Bring 
against me what you please." Whilst he said this and many other things, he 
appeared in a transport of joy and confidence, and his countenance shone with a 
certain heavenly grace, insomuch that the proconsul himself was struck with 
admiration. However, he ordered a crier to announce three times in the 
middle of the stadium, " Polycarp hath confessed himself a Christian ". 
At this the whole multitude gave a great shout, " This is the teacher of 
Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, who teaches the 
people not to sacrifice or to worship ! " They appealed to Philip the governor to 
let a lion loose upon Polycarp. He told them that it was not in his power, because 
he had brought the sports to a close. Then they all, heathen and Jews, clamoured 
that he should be burnt alive. 

Their demand was no sooner granted than everyone ran with all speed to fetch 
wood from the bath-furnaces and workshops. The pile being ready, Polycarp 
put off his clothes and made to remove his shoes ; he had not done this before, 
because the faithful already sought the privilege of touching his flesh. The 
executioners would have nailed him to the stake, but he said, " Suffer me to be as 
I am. He who gives me grace to endure the fire will enable me to remain at the 
pile unmoved." They therefore contented themselves with tying his hands 
behind his back, and looking up towards Heaven, he prayed and said, " O Almighty 
Lord God, Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom 
we have received the knowledge of thee, God of angels and powers and of all 
creation, and of the whole family of the righteous who live in thy presence ! I bless 
thee for having been pleased to bring me to this hour, that I may receive a portion 
among thy martyrs and partake of the cup of thy Christ, unto resurrection to eternal 

169 


January 26] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

life, both of soul and body, in the immortality of the Holy Spirit. Amongst whom 
grant me to be received this day as a pleasing sacrifice, such as thou thyself hast 
prepared, O true and faithful God. Wherefore for all things I praise, bless and 
glorify thee, through the eternal high priest Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, with 
whom to thee and the Holy Ghost be glory now and for ever. Amen." He had 
scarce said Amen when fire was set to the pile. But behold a wonder, say the 
authors of this letter, seen by us who were preserved to attest it to others. The 
flames, forming themselves like the sails of a ship swelled with the wind, gently 
encircled the body of the martyr, which stood in the middle, resembling not 
burning flesh but bread that is being baked or precious metal refined. And there 
was a fragrance like the smell of incense. The order was given that Polycarp 
should be pierced with a spear, which was done : and a dove came forth, and such 
quantity of blood as to quench the fire. 

Nicetas advised the proconsul not to give up the body to the Christians, lest, 
said he, abandoning the crucified man, they should worship Polycarp. The Jews 
suggested this, " not knowing ", say the authors of the letter, " that we can never 
forsake Christ, nor worship any other. For Him we worship as the Son of God, 
but we love the martyrs as His disciples and imitators, for the great love they bore 
their King and Master." The centurion, seeing the contest raised by the Jews, 
placed the body in the middle and burnt it to ashes. " We afterward took up 
the bones ", say they, " more precious than the richest jewels of gold, and laid them 
decently in a place at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate 
the birthday of the martyr." Thus wrote these disciples and eye-witnesses. It 
was at two o'clock in the afternoon of February 23 in 155 or 166 or some other 
year that St Polycarp received his crown. 

An immense literature, of which we cannot attempt to take account here, has grown up 
in connection with the history of St Polycarp. The principal points round which discussion 
has centred are : (1) the authenticity of the letter written in the name of the church of 
Smyrna describing his martyrdom ; (2) the authenticity of the letter addressed to him by 
St Ignatius of Antioch ; (3) the authenticity of Polycarp 's letter to the Philippians ; (4) the 
trustworthiness of the information concerning him and his relations with the apostle St John 
supplied by St Irenaeus and other early writers ; (5) the date of his martyrdom ; (6) the 
value and bearing of the Life of Polycarp attributed to Pionius. With regard to the first 
four points, it may be said that the verdict of the best authorities upon Christian origins is 
now practically unanimous in favour of the orthodox tradition. The conclusions so patiently 
worked out by Bishop Lightfoot and Funk have in the end been accepted with hardly a 
dissentient voice. The documents named may therefore be regarded as among the most 
precious memorials preserved to us which shed light upon the early developments of the life 
of the Church. For English readers they are accessible in the invaluable work of Lightfoot, 
The Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius and Polycarp, 3 vols. ; or in the one volume abridgement 
edited by J. R. Harmer (also with full translation), The Apostolic Fathers (1891). As regards 
the date of the martyrdom, earlier writers, in accordance with an entry in the Chronicle of 
Eusebius, took it for granted that Polycarp suffered in 166 ; but discussions have led almost 
all recent critics to decide for 155 or 156. See, however, J. Chapman, who in the Revue 
Benedictine, vol. xix, pp. 145 seq., gives reasons for still adhering to 166 ; and H. Gregoire 
in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. Ixix (195 1), pp. 1-38, where he argues at length for 177. As 
for point (6), the Life by Pionius, which describes Polycarp as in his boyhood a slave ransomed 
by a compassionate lady, there is now an equally general agreement among scholars that this 
narrative is a pure work of fiction, though it may possibly be as old as the last decade of the 
fourth century. An attempt has been made by P. Corssen and E. Schwartz to demonstrate 
that the Life of Polycarp is a genuine work of the martyr St Pionius, who suffered in 180 or 
250 ; but this contention has been convincingly refuted by Fr Delehaye in his Les passions 
des martyrs et les genres litteraires (1921), pp. n-59. There is an excellent article on St 

170 


ST PAULA [January 26 

Polycarp by H. T. Andrews in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, nth edition. A handy text 
and translation of the martyrdom is Kirsopp Lake's in the Loeb Classical Library, The 
Apostolic Fathers, vol. ii ; and there is a translation only in the Ancient Christian Writers 
series, vol. vi. On the date see further H. I. Marrou in Analecta BoJlandiana, vol. Ixxi 
(1953), PP- 5-20. 


ST PAULA, Widow (a.d. 404) 

This illustrious pattern of widows surpassed all other Roman matrons in riches, 
birth and endowments of mind. She was born on May 5 in 347. The blood of 
the Scipios, the Gracchi and Paulus Aemilius ran in her veins through her mother 
Blesilla. Her father claimed to trace his pedigree back to Agamemnon, and her 
husband Toxotius his to Aeneas. By him she had a son, also called Toxotius, and 
four daughters, Blesilla, Paulina, Eustochium and Rufina. She shone as a pattern 
of virtue in the married state, and both she and her husband edified Rome by their 
good example ; but her virtue was not without its alloy, a certain degree of love of 
the world being almost inseparable from a position such as hers. She did not at 
first discern the secret attachments of her heart, but her eyes were opened by the 
death of her husband, when she was thirty-two years of age. Her grief was 
immoderate till such time as she was encouraged to devote herself totally to God 
by her friend St Marcella, a widow who then edified Rome by her penitential life. 
Paula thenceforward lived in a most austere way. Her food was simple, she drank 
no wine ; she slept on the floor with no bedding but sackcloth ; she renounced 
all social life and amusements ; and everything it was in her power to dispose of 
she gave away to the poor. She avoided every distraction which interrupted her 
good works ; but she gave hospitality to St Epiphanius of Salamis and to Paulinus 
of Antioch when they came to Rome ; and through them she came to know St 
Jerome, with whom she was closely associated in the service of God during his 
stay in Rome under Pope St Damasus. 

Paula's eldest daughter, St Blesilla, dying suddenly, her mother felt this 
bereavement intensely ; and St Jerome, who had just returned to Bethlehem, 
wrote to comfort her, and also to reprove her for what he regarded as an excess of 
mourning for one who had gone to her heavenly reward. The second daughter, 
Paulina, was married to St Pammachius, and died seven years before her mother. 
St Eustochium, the third, was Paula's inseparable companion. Rufina died in 
youth. The more progress St Paula made in the relish of heavenly things, the 
more insupportable to her became the tumultuous life of the city. She sighed 
after the desert, longed to live in a hermitage where her heart would have no other 
occupation than the thought of God. She determined to leave Rome, ready to 
leave home, family and friends ; never did mother love her children more tenderly, 
yet the tears of the child Toxotius and of the older Rufina could not hold her back. 
She sailed from Italy with Eustochium in 385, and after visiting St Epiphanius in 
Cyprus, met St Jerome and others at Antioch. The party made a pilgrimage to 
all the holy places of Palestine and on to Egypt to visit the monks and anchorets 
there ; a year later they arrived in Bethlehem, and St Paula and St Eustochium 
settled there under the direction of St Jerome. 

Here the two women lived in a cottage until they were able to build a hospice, 
a monastery for men and a three-fold convent for women. This last properly 
made but one house, for all assembled in the same chapel day and night for divine 
service together, and on Sundays in the church which stood hard by. Their food 

171 


January 26] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

was coarse and scanty, their fasts frequent and severe. All the sisters worked with 
their hands, and made clothes for themselves and others. All wore a similar 
modest habit, and used no linen. No man was ever suffered to set foot within 
their doors. Paula governed with a charity full of discretion, encouraging them 
by her own example and instruction, being always among the first at every duty, 
taking part, like Eustochium, in all the work of the house. If anyone showed 
herself talkative or passionate, she was separated from the rest, ordered to walk 
the last in order, to pray outside the door, and for some time to eat alone. Paula 
extended her love of poverty to her buildings and churches, ordering them all to 
be built low, and without anything costly or magnificent. She said that money 
is better expended upon the poor, who are the living members of Christ. 

According to Palladius, St Paula had the care of St Jerome and — as might be 
expected — found it no easy responsibility. But she was also of considerable help 
to him in his biblical and other work, for she had got Greek from her father and 
now learned enough Hebrew at any rate to be able to sing the psalms in their 
original tongue. She too profited sufficiently by the teaching of her master to be 
able to take an intelligent interest in the unhappy dispute with Bishop John of 
Jerusalem over Origenism ; but her last years were overcast by this and other 
troubles such as the grave financial stringency that her generosity had brought 
upon her. Paula's son Toxotius married Laeta, the daughter of a pagan priest, 
but herself a Christian. Both were faithful imitators of the holy life of our saint. 
Their daughter, Paula the younger, was sent to Bethlehem, to be under the care 
of her grandmother, whom she afterwards succeeded in the government of her 
religious house. For the education of this child St Jerome sent to Laeta some 
excellent instructions, which parents can never read too often. God called St 
Paula to Himself after a life of fifty-six years. In her last illness she repeated 
almost without intermission certain verses of the psalms which express an ardent 
desire of the heavenly Jerusalem and of being with God. When she was no longer 
able to speak, she made the sign of the cross on her lips, and died in peace on 
January 26, 404. 

Practically all that we know of St Paula is derived from the letters of St Jerome, more 
particularly from letter 108, which might be described as a biography ; it is printed in Migne, 
P.L., vol. xxii, cc. 878-906, and in the Acta Sanctorum for January 26. See also the charming 
monograph by F. Lagrange, Histaire de Ste Paule, which has gone through many editions 
since 1868 ; and R. Geniei, Ste Paule (191 7). 

ST CONAN, Bishop (Seventh Century ?) 

There are a good many place-names which seem to bear witness to the existence 
of a Celtic saint named Conan or Conon, but there is no real evidence of cultus, 
and the statements which have been made about him are by no means consistent 
with each other. In certain breviary lessons of late date it is said that the hermit 
St Fiacre, born in Scotland or Ireland, was in his boyhood committed to the care 
of St Conan, and learnt from him those virtues which afterwards made the name 
of Fiacre famous. St Conan, we are told, passed from Scotland to the Isle of 
Man, and completed the work, begun by St Patrick or some of his disciples, of 
planting Christianity in that place. He is also commonly called bishop of Sodor, 
but the very name is an anachronism, for there is no doubt that Sodor is a corrup- 
tion of the Norse term Suthr-eyar (Southern Islands), which was used by the 
Vikings for the islands off the west coast of Great Britain in opposition to the 

172 


ST ALBERIC [January 26 

Shetland and Orkney groups, which were northern islands. But the Viking raids 
did not begin before the close of the eighth century, and the name Sodor as the 
designation of an episcopal see cannot have been introduced until much later than 
that. It is quite possible, however, that Conan may have received episcopal 
consecration, and may have laboured in Man and the Hebrides. 

See KSS., pp. 307-308 ; LIS., vol. i, p. 447 ; Olaf Kolsrud, " The Celtic Bishops in 
the Isle of Man " in the Zeitschrift f. Celtische Philologie, vol. ix (191 3), pp. 357-379. 

ST ALBERIC, Abbot of Citeaux, Co-Founder of the Cistercian 
Order (a.d. 1109) 

The experiences of St Alberic in his efforts to find a religious home in accord with 
his aspirations after high perfection throw rather a lurid light upon the untamed 
temper of the recruits who formed the raw material of monastic life in the eleventh 
century. We know nothing of his boyhood, but we hear of him first as one of a 
group of seven hermits who were trying to serve God in the forest of Collan, not 
far from Chatillon-sur-Seine. There was a certain Abbot Robert, a man of good 
family, who in spite of a previous failure with a community of unruly monks was 
in high repute for virtue. Him the hermits with some difficulty obtained for a 
superior, and in 1075 they moved not far off to Molesmes, where they built a 
monastery, with Robert for abbot and Alberic for prior. Benefactions flowed in 
upon them, their numbers grew, but religious fervour decayed. In time a turbulent 
majority set monastic discipline at defiance. Robert lost heart and withdrew 
elsewhere. Alberic struggled on to maintain order, but things came to such a 
pass that the monks beat and imprisoned their prior, and eventually, if we may 
trust our rather confused authorities, Alberic and Stephen Harding, the Englishman, 
could stand it no longer, and also quitted Molesmes. Probably, when the news 
of these scandals leaked out, the alms of the faithful began to dry up and the pinch 
made itself felt. In any case, amendment was promised, so that Robert and 
Alberic and Stephen were prevailed upon to return ; but the old troubles and 
relaxed observance soon reappeared, and Alberic seems to have been the leading 
spirit in persuading a group of the more fervent to establish elsewhere a new 
community living under a stricter rule. 

In the year 1098 twenty-one monks took up their abode in the wilderness of 
Citeaux, some little distance to the south of Dijon and more than seventy miles 
from Molesmes. These were the first beginnings of the great Cistercian Order. 
Robert, Alberic and Stephen were elected respectively abbot, prior and sub-prior, 
but shortly afterwards St Robert returned to the community he had quitted. 
Thus Alberic became abbot in his place, and it is to him that some of the more 
distinctive features of the Cistercian reform must probably be ascribed ; this way 
of life aimed at a restoration of primitive Benedictine observance, but with many 
added austerities. One of its external features was the adoption for the choir 
monks of a white habit (with a black scapular and hood), a change said to have been 
made in consequence of a vision of our Lady which was vouchsafed to St Alberic. 
A more notable change was the recognition of a special class of fratres conversi, or 
lay brothers, to whom the more laborious work, and particularly the field work in 
the distant granges, was entrusted ; but manual work was normal for all the monks, 
their choir observances were much shortened and simplified, and more time was 
available for private prayer. 

J 73 


January 26] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Alberic's rule as abbot was not very prolonged, and much of that which was most 
characteristic in the final organization at Citeaux may not improbably be traced to 
his successor, St Stephen. It is Stephen also who, in an address delivered after 
the death of Alberic (January 26, 1109), has left us almost the only personal note 
we possess concerning him. " All of us ", he said, " have alike a share in this 
great loss, and I am but a poor comforter, who myself need comfort. Ye have lost 
a venerable father and ruler of your souls ; I have lost, not only a father and ruler, 
but a friend, a fellow soldier and a chief warrior in the battles of the Lord, whom 
our venerable Father Robert, from the very cradle of our monastic institute, had 
brought up in one and the same convent, in admirable learning and piety. . . . We 
have amongst us this dear body and singular pledge of our beloved father, and he 
himself has carried us all away with him in his mind with an affectionate love. . . . 
The warrior has attained his reward, the runner has grasped his prize, the victor 
has won his crown ; he who has taken possession prays for a palm for us. . . . Let 
us not mourn for the soldier who is at rest ; let us mourn for ourselves who are 
placed in the front of the battle, and let us turn our sad and dejected speeches into 
prayers, begging our father who is in triumph not to suffer the roaring lion and 
savage enemy to triumph over us." 

See Acta Sanctorum, January 26 ; J. B. Dalgairns, Life of St Stephen Harding, and other 
references given herein under St Stephen on April 17. 

ST EYSTEIN, Archbishop of Nidaros (a.d. 1188) 

In the year 1152 an English cardinal, Nicholas Breakspeare (afterwards to be pope 
as Adrian IV), visited Norway as legate of the Holy See, and gave a new organiza- 
tion to the Church in that country, consisting of a metropolitan see at Nidaros 
(Trondhjem) with ten bishoprics.* Five years later the second archbishop of 
Nidaros was appointed, in the person of Eystein Erlandsson, chaplain to King 
Inge, an appointment which violated the regulations for canonical appointments 
laid down by Cardinal Breakspeare. But it proved to be the life work of the new 
archbishop to maintain the Church's right of conducting its affairs without inter- 
ference by " the rich and great ", and finally to bring the Norwegian church into 
the general pattern of the west European Christendom of that day. After his 
appointment Eystein made his way to Rome, but it is not known exactly when or 
where he was consecrated bishop by Pope Alexander III and received the pallium. 
In any case he did not get back home till late in 1161, and then he came as papal 
legate a latere. One of his first interests was to finish the enlargement of the 
cathedral, Christ Church, of Nidaros, and some of his building still remains. In 
the account which he wrote of St Olaf, St Eystein relates his remarkably speedy 
recovery from an accident sustained by him when a scaffolding on this building 
collapsed : he attributes it to Olaf's intercession. 

After the death of King Haakon II, Jarl Erling Skakke wanted to get his own 
eight-year-old son Magnus recognized as king of Norway. And in 1164, probably 
in return for concessions touching ecclesiastical revenue, Archbishop Eystein 
anointed and crowned the child at Bergen, the first royal coronation in Norwegian 

* Among them was Suderoyene, i.e. the western isles of Scotland and Man, which 
remained suffragan to Trondhjem till the fourteenth century : the name survives in the 
" Sodor and Man " diocese of the Anglican Church to-day. Other sees were in the northern 
islands, Greenland and Iceland. 

174 


ST EYSTEIN [January 26 

history. Relations between the archbishop and the king's father continued to be 
close, and St Eystein was able to get accepted a code of laws some of which were of 
great importance for the discipline and good order of the Church. But one 
matter which he does not seem to have tackled, at any rate directly, was clerical 
celibacy, which was not observed in the Scandinavian churches at that time (cf 
the contemporary St Thorlac in Iceland). It was perhaps for this reason that St 
Eystein founded communities of Augustinian canons regular, to set an example to 
the parochial clergy. 

Most of St Eystein's activities as they have come down to us are matters of the 
general history of his country rather than his own life, and were always directed 
towards the free action of the spiritual power among a unified people. This 
brought him into collision with Magnus's rival for the throne, Sverre, and in 1181 
the archbishop fled to England; from whence he is said to have excommunicated 
Sverre. Jocelyn of Brakelond, the chronicler of the abbey of St Edmundsbury in 
Suffolk, writes : " While the abbacy was vacant the archbishop of Norway, 
Augustine [the name of which Eystein is the Scandinavian form ; cf the English 
' Austin '], dwelt with us in the abbot's lodgings, and by command of the king 
received ten shillings every day from the revenues of the abbot. He assisted us 
greatly to gain freedom of election. ..." It was on this occasion that the famous 
Samson was elected abbot. It is significant that St Eystein had a strong devotion 
for St Thomas Becket, which later became common in the Norwegian church, 
and it is reasonable to suppose that he visited his shrine at Canterbury ; and 
it seems that it was in England that he wrote The Passion and Miracles of the 
Blessed Olaf 

Eystein returned to Norway in 1 183, and he was in his ship in Bergen harbour 
when Sverre attacked Magnus's ships there and forced the king to flee to Denmark. 
In the following year Magnus lost his life in a renewal of the struggle, and it may 
be assumed that the archbishop was reconciled with King Sverre. Certainly when 
Eystein was on his death-bed four years later Sverre visited him, and Sverre's Saga 
says, " They were then altogether reconciled and each forgave the other those 
things which had been between them." 

St Eystein died on January 26, 1188, and in 1229 a synod at Nidaros declared 
his sanctity. This decree has never been confirmed at Rome, although the pre- 
liminary investigations have been begun several times but have always petered out 
for various reasons. Matthew of Westminster in the thirteenth century refers to 
him as a man whose holiness was attested by outstanding and authentic miracles. 
As has been said, St Eystein's work was to break the hold of a semi-barbarous 
nobility over the Church in Norway and to set it more free to work peacefully for 
her children. This meant that his own life was one of devoted conflict, in which 
he learned by experience that, in the words of his friend Theodoric, It is one 
thing to control the rashness of the wicked by means of earthly force and the 
sword, but quite another to lead souls gently with the tenderness and care of a 
shepherd." 

The sources for the life of St Eystein have mostly to be extracted from documents of the 
general history of Norway, such as Sverre's Saga. What is known of him is fitted into a 
more detailed account of the historical background by Mrs Sigrid Undset in her Saga of 
Saints (1934). The manuscript of Eystein's Passio et miracula beati Olavi was found in 
England and edited by F. Metcalfe (1881). This manuscript once belonged to Fountains 
Abbey. 

17s 


January 26] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST MARGARET OF HUNGARY, Virgin (ad. 1270) 

Very great interest attaches to the life of St Margaret of Hungary, because by rare 
good fortune we possess in her case a complete copy of the depositions of the 
witnesses who gave evidence in the process of beatification begun less than seven 
years after her death. No doubt the fact that she was the daughter of Bela IV, 
King of Hungary, a champion of Christendom at a time when central Europe was 
menaced with utter destruction by the inroads of the Tatars, has emphasized the 
details of her extraordinary life of self-crucifixion. The Dominican Order, too, 
which was much befriended by Bela and his consort Queen Mary Lascaris, was 
necessarily interested in the cause of one of its earliest and most eminent daughters. 
But no one can read the astounding record of Margaret's asceticism and charity as 
recounted by some fifty witnesses who were her everyday companions without 
realizing that even if she had been the child of a beggar, such courage as hers — one 
is almost tempted to call it the fanaticism of her warfare against the world and the 
flesh — could not but have a spiritualizing influence upon all who came in contact 
with her. Bela IV has been styled " the last man of genius whom the Arpads 
produced ", but there were qualities in his daughter which, if determination counts 
for anything in human affairs, showed that the stock was not yet effete. 

Margaret had been born at an hour when the fortunes of Hungary were at a 
low ebb, and we are told that her parents had promised to dedicate the babe entirely 
to God if victory should wait upon their arms. The boon was in substance granted, 
and the child at age of three was committed to the charge of the community of 
Dominican nuns at Veszprem. Somewhat later, Bela and his queen built a convent 
for their daughter on an island in the Danube near Buda, and there, when she was 
twelve years old, she made her profession in the hands of Bd Humbert of Romans. 
Horrifying as are the details of the young sister's thirst for penance and of her 
determination to conquer all natural repugnances, they are supported by such a 
mass of concurrent testimony that it is impossible to question the truth of what we 
read. That she was exceptionally favoured in the matter of good looks seems to 
be proved by the determination of Ottokar, King of Bohemia, to seek her hand 
even after he had seen her in her religious dress. No doubt a dispensation could 
easily have been obtained for such a marriage, and Bela for political reasons was 
inclined to favour it. But Margaret declared that she would cut off her nose and 
lips rather than consent to leave the cloister, and no one who reads the account 
which her sisters gave of her resolution in other matters can doubt that she would 
have been as good as her word. 

Although the majority of the inmates of this Danubian convent were the daugh- 
ters of noble families, Princess Margaret seems to have been conscious of a tendency 
to treat her with special consideration. Her protest took the form of an almost 
extravagant choice of all that was menial, repulsive, exhausting and insanitary. 
Her charity and tenderness in rendering the most nauseating services to the sick 
were marvellous, but many of the details are such as cannot be set out before the 
fastidious modern reader. She had an intense sympathy for the squalid lives of 
the poor, but she carried it so far that, like another St Benedict Joseph Labre, she 
chose to imitate them in her personal habits, and her fellow nuns confessed that 
there were times when they shrank from coming into too intimate contact with the 
noble princess, their sister in religion. One gets the impression that Margaret's 
love of God and desire of self-immolation were associated with a certain element 

176 


ST MARGARET OF HUNGARY [January 26 

of wilfulness. She would have been better, or at least she would assuredly have 
lived longer, if she had had a strong-minded superior or confessor to take her 
resolutely in hand ; but it was perhaps inevitable that the daughter of the royal 
founders to whom the convent owed everything should almost always have been 
able to get her own way. 

On the other hand, there are many delightful human touches in the account her 
sisters gave of her. The sacristan tells how Margaret would stroke her hand and 
coax her to leave the door of the choir open after Compline, that she might spend the 
night before the Blessed Sacrament when she ought to have been sleeping. She 
was confident in the power of prayer to effect what she desired, and she carried this 
almost to the point of a certain imperiousness in the requests she made to the 
Almighty. Several of the nuns recall an incident which happened at Veszprem 
when she was only ten years old. Two Dominican friars came there on a short 
visit, and Margaret begged them to prolong their stay. They replied that it was 
necessary that they should return at once ; to which she responded, " I shall ask 
God that it may rain so hard that you cannot get away ". Although they protested 
that no amount of rain would detain them, she went to the chapel, and such a 
downpour occurred that they were unable, after all, to leave Veszprem as they had 
intended. This recalls the well-known story of St Scholastica and St Benedict, 
and there is in any case no need to invoke a supernatural intervention ; but there 
are so many such incidents vouched for by the sisters in their evidence on oath that 
it is difficult to stretch coincidence so far as to explain them all. Though we hear 
of ecstasies and of a great number of miracles, there is a certain moderation in the 
depositions which inspires confidence in the good faith of the witnesses. An 
incident which is mentioned by nearly all is the saving, at St Margaret's prayer, 
of a maid-servant who had fallen down a well. Amongst the other depositions 
we have that of the maid, Agnes, herself. Asked in general what she knew of 
Margaret, she was content to say that " she was good and holy and edifying in her 
conduct, and showed greater humility than we serving-maids ". As to the accident, 
we learn from her that the evening was so dark that " if anyone had slapped her face 
she could not have seen who did it ", and that the orifice of the well was quite open 
and without a rail, and that after falling she sank to the bottom three times, but at 
last managed to clutch the wall of the well until they lowered a rope and pulled 
her out. 

There can be little room for doubt that Margaret shortened her life by her 
austerities. At the end of every Lent she was in a pitiable state from fasting, 
deprivation of sleep and neglect of her person.* She put the crown on her indis- 
cretions on Maundy Thursday by washing the feet (this probably she claimed as a 
sort of privilege which belonged to her as the daughter of the royal founders) not 
only of all the choir nuns, seventy in number, but of all the servants as well. She 
wiped their feet, the nuns tell us, with the veil which she wore on her head. In 
spite of this fatigue and of the fact that at this season she took neither food nor sleep, 
she complained to some of the sisters in her confidence that " Good Friday was the 
shortest day of the year ". She had no time for all the prayers she wanted to say 

* This neglect of cleanliness was traditionally part of the penitential discipline, and was 
symbolized by the ashes received on Ash Wednesday. The old English name for Maundy 
Thursday was " Sheer Thursday ", when the penitents obtained absolution, trimmed their 
hair and beards, and washed in preparation for Easter. It was also sometimes called 
capitilaviurrl (head-washing). 

177 


January 27] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

and for all the acts of penance she wanted to perform. St Margaret seems to have 
died on January 18, 1270, at the age of twenty-eight ; the process of beatification 
referred to above was never finished, but the cultus was approved in 1789 and she 
was canonized in 1943. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 28 ; but more especially G. Fraknoi, Monumenta 
Romana Episcopatus Vesprimiensis, vol. i, pp. 163-383, where the depositions of the Svitnesses 
are printed in full. Cf. also M. C. de Ganay, Les Bienheureuses Dominicaines, pp. 69-89 ; 
and Margaret, Princess of Hungary (1945), by " S. M. C." 


27 


ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, Archbishop of Constantinople and 
Doctor of the Church (a.d. 407) 


THIS incomparable teacher, on account of the fluency and sweetness of his 
eloquence, obtained after his death the surname of Chrysostom, or Golden 
Mouth. But his piety and his undaunted courage are titles far more 
glorious, by which he may claim to be ranked among the greatest pastors of the 
Church. He was born about the year 347 at Antioch in Syria, the only son of 
Secundus, commander of the imperial troops. His mother, Anthusa, left a widow 
at twenty, divided her time between the care of her family and her exercises of 
devotion. Her example made such an impression on our saint's master, a cele- 
brated pagan sophist, that he could not forbear crying out, " What wonderful 
women are found among the Christians ! " Anthusa provided for her son the 
ablest masters which the empire at that time afforded. Eloquence was esteemed 
the highest accomplishment, and John studied that art under Libanius, the most 
famous orator of the age ; and such was his proficiency that even in his youth he 
excelled his masters. Libanius being asked on his deathbed who ought to succeed 
him in his school, " John ", said he, " would have been my choice, had not the 
Christians stolen him from us." 

According to a common custom of those days young John was not baptized 
till he was over twenty years old, being at the time a law student. Soon after, 
together with his friends Basil, Theodore (afterwards bishop of Mopsuestia) and 
others, he attended a sort of school for monks, where they studied under Diodorus 
of Tarsus ; and in 374 he joined one of the loosely-knit communities of hermits 
among the mountains south of Antioch. He afterwards wrote a vivid account of 
their austerities and trials. He passed four years under the direction of a veteran 
Syrian monk, and afterwards two years in a cave as a solitary. The dampness of 
this abode brought on a dangerous illness, and for the recovery of his health he 
was obliged to return into the city in 381. He was ordained deacon by St Meletius 
that very year, and received the priesthood from Bishop Flavian in 386, who at the 
same time constituted him his preacher, John being then about forty. He dis- 
charged the duties of the office for twelve years, supporting during that time a 
heavy load of responsibility as the aged bishop's deputy. The instruction and care 
of the poor he regarded as the first obligation of all, and he never ceased in his 
sermons to recommend their cause and to impress on the people the duty of 
almsgiving. Antioch, he supposes, contained at that time one hundred thousand 
Christian souls and as many pagans ; these he fed with the word of God, preaching 
several days in the week, and frequently several times on the same day. 

178 


ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM [January 27 

The Emperor Theodosius I, finding himself obliged to levy a new tax on his 
subjects because of his war with Magnus Maximus, the Antiochenes rioted and 
vented their discontent on the emperor's statue, and those of his father, sons and 
late consort, breaking them to pieces. The magistrates were helpless. But as 
soon as the fury was over and they began to reflect on the probable consequences 
of their outburst, the people were seized with terror and their fears were heightened 
by the arrival of two officers from Constantinople to carry out the emperor's orders 
for punishment. In spite of his age, Bishop Flavian set out in the worst weather 
of the year to implore the imperial clemency for his flock, and Theodosius was 
touched by his appeal : an amnesty was accorded to the delinquent citizens of 
Antioch. Meanwhile St John had been delivering perhaps the most memorable 
series of sermons which marked his oratorical career, the famous twenty-one 
homilies " On the Statutes ". They manifest in a wonderful way the sympathy 
between the preacher and his audience, and also his own consciousness of the power 
which he wielded for good. There can be no question that the Lent of 387, during 
which these discourses were delivered, marked a turning-point in Chrysostom's 
career, and that from that time forward his oratory became, even politically, one 
of the great forces by which the Eastern empire was swayed. After the storm he 
continued his labours with unabated energy, but before very long God was pleased 
to call him to glorify His name upon a new stage, where He prepared for his virtue 
other trials and other crowns. 

Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, dying in 397, the Emperor Arcadius, 
at the suggestion of Eutropius, his chamberlain, resolved to procure the election 
of John to the see of that city. He therefore despatched an order to the count of 
the East, enjoining him to send John to Constantinople, but to do so without making 
the news public, lest his intended removal should cause a sedition. The count 
repaired to Antioch, and desiring the saint to accompany him out of the city to the 
tombs of the martyrs, he there delivered him to an officer who, taking him into his 
chariot, conveyed him with all possible speed to the imperial city. Theophilus, 
Archbishop of Alexandria, a man of proud and turbulent spirit, had come thither 
to recommend a nominee of his own for the vacancy ; but he had to desist from 
his intrigues, and John was consecrated by him on February 26 in 398. 

When regulating his domestic concerns, the saint cut down the expenses which 
his predecessors had considered necessary to maintain their dignity, and these 
sums he applied to the relief of the poor and supported many hospitals. His own 
household being settled in good order, the next thing he took in hand was the 
reformation of his clergy. This he forwarded by zealous exhortations and by 
disciplinary enactments, which, while very necessary, seem in their severity to have 
been lacking in tact. But to give these his endeavours their due force, he lived 
himself as an exact model of what he inculcated on others. The immodesty of 
women in their dress in that gay capital aroused him to indignation, and he showed 
how false and absurd was their excuse in saying that they meant no harm. Thus 
by his zeal and eloquence St John tamed many sinners, converting, moreover, many 
idolaters and heretics. His mildness towards sinners was censured by the Nova- 
tians ; for he invited them to repentance with the compassion of a most tender 
father, and was accustomed to cry out, " If you have fallen a second time, or even 
a thousand times into sin, come to me, and you shall be healed ". But he was firm 
and severe in maintaining discipline, and to impenitent sinners he was inflexible. 
One Good Friday many Christians went to the races, and on Holy Saturday 

179 


January 27] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

crowded to the games in the stadium. The good bishop was pierced to the quick, 
and on Easter Sunday he preached an impassioned sermon, " Against the Games 
and Shows of the Theatre and Circus ". Indignation made him not so much as 
mention the paschal solemnity, and his exordium was a most moving appeal. A 
large number of ChrysostonVs sermons still exist, and they amply support the view 
of many that he was the greatest preacher who ever lived. But it must be admitted 
that his language was at times, especially in his later years, excessively violent and 
provocative. As has been observed, he " sometimes almost shrieks at his delin- 
quent empresses " ; and one has a painful feeling that his invective in face of 
undoubted provocation from many Jews must have been partly responsible for the 
frequent bloody collisions between them and Christians in Antioch. Not all 
Chrysostom's opponents were blameworthy men : there were undoubtedly good 
and earnest Christians amongst those who disagreed with him — he who became 
St Cyril of Alexandria among them. 

Another good work which absorbed a large share of the archbishop's activities 
was the founding of new and fervent communities of devout women. Among the 
holy widows who placed themselves under the direction of this great master of 
saints, the most illustrious, perhaps, was the truly noble St Olympias. Neither was 
his pastoral care confined to his own flock ; he extended it to remote countries. 
He sent a bishop to instruct the wandering Scythians ; another, an admirable man, 
to the Goths. Palestine, Persia and many other distant provinces felt the beneficent 
influence of his zeal. He was himself remarkable for an eminent spirit of prayer, 
and he was particularly earnest in inculcating this duty. He even exhorted the 
laity to rise for the midnight office together with the clergy. " Many artisans ", 
said he, " get up at night to labour, and soldiers keep vigil as sentries ; cannot you 
do as much to praise God ? " Great also was the tenderness with which he dis- 
coursed on the divine love which is displayed in the holy Eucharist, and exhorted 
the faithful to the frequent use of that heavenly sacrament. The public concerns 
of the state often claimed a share in the interest and intervention of St Chrysostom, 
as when the chamberlain and ex-slave Eutropius fell from power in 399, on which 
occasion he preached a famous sermon while the hated Eutropius cowered in 
sanctuary beneath the altar in full view of the congregation. The bishop entreated 
the people to forgive a culprit whom the emperor, the chief person injured, was 
desirous to forgive ; he asked them how they could beg of God the forgiveness of 
their own sins if they did not forgive one who stood in need of mercy and time for 
repentance. 

It remained for St Chrysostom to glorify God by his sufferings, as he had 
already done by his labours, and, if we contemplate the mystery of the Cross with 
the eyes of faith, we shall find him greater in the persecutions he sustained than 
in all the other occurrences of his life. His principal ecclesiastical adversary 
was Archbishop Theophilus of Alexandria, already mentioned, who had several 
grievances against his brother of Constantinople. A no less dangerous enemy 
was the empress Eudoxia. John was accused of referring to her as " Jezebel ", 
and when he had preached a sermon against the profligacy and vanity of so many 
women it was represented by some as an attack levelled at the empress. Knowing 
the sense of grievance entertained by Theophilus, Eudoxia, to be revenged for the 
supposed affront to herself, conspired with him to bring about Chrysostom's 
deposition. Theophilus landed at Constantinople in June 403, with several 
Egyptian bishops ; he refused to see or lodge with John ; and got together a cabal 

180 


ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM [January 27 

of thirty-six bishops in a house at Chalcedon called The Oak. The main articles 
in the impeachment were : that John had deposed a deacon for beating a servant ; 
that he had called several of his clergy reprobates ; had deposed bishops outside 
his own province ; had sold things belonging to the church ; that nobody knew 
what became of his revenues ; that he ate alone ; and that he gave holy communion 
to persons who were not fasting — all which accusations were either false or frivolous. 
John held a legal council of forty bishops in the city at the same time, and refused 
to appear before that at The Oak. So the cabal proceeded to a sentence of 
deposition against him, which they sent to the Emperor Arcadius, accusing him 
at the same time of treason, apparently in having called the empress " Jezebel ". 
Thereupon the emperor issued an order for his banishment. 

For three days Constantinople was in an uproar, and Chrysostom delivered a 
vigorous manifesto from his pulpit. " Violent storms encompass me on all sides : 
yet I am without fear, because I stand upon a rock. Though the sea roar and the 
waves rise high, they cannot overwhelm the ship of Jesus Christ. I fear not death, 
which is my gain ; nor banishment, for the whole earth is the Lord's ; nor the 
loss of goods, for I came naked into the world, and I can carry nothing out of it." 
He declared that he was ready to lay down his life for his flock, and that if he suffered 
now, it was only because he had neglected nothing that would help towards the 
salvation of their souls. Then he surrendered himself, unknown to the people, 
and an official conducted him to Praenetum in Bithynia. But his first exile was 
short. The city was slightly shaken by an earthquake. This terrified the super- 
stitious Eudoxia, and she implored Arcadius to recall John ; she got leave to send 
a letter the same day, asking him to return and protesting her own innocence of 
his banishment. All the city went out to meet him, and the Bosphorus blazed 
with torches. Theophilus and his party fled by night. 

But the fair weather did not last long. A silver statue of the empress having 
been erected before the great church of the Holy Wisdom, the dedication of it was 
celebrated with public games which, besides disturbing the liturgy, were an occasion 
of disorder, impropriety and superstition. St Chrysostom had often preached 
against licentious shows, and the very place rendered these the more inexcusable. 
And so, fearing lest his silence should be construed as an approbation of the abuse, 
he with his usual freedom and courage spoke loudly against it. The vanity of the 
Empress Eudoxia made her take the affront to herself, and his enemies were invited 
back. Theophilus dared not come, but he sent three deputies. This second cabal 
appealed to certain canons of an Arian council of Antioch, made to exclude St 
Athanasius, by which it was ordained that no bishop who had been deposed by a 
synod should return to his see till he was restored by another synod. Arcadius 
sent John an order to withdraw. He refused to forsake a church committed to 
him by God unless forcibly compelled to leave it. The emperor sent troops to 
drive the people out of the churches on Holy Saturday, and they were polluted with 
blood and all manner of outrages. The saint wrote to Pope St Innocent I, begging 
him to invalidate all that had been done, for the miscarriage of justice had 
been notorious. He also wrote to beg the concurrence of other bishops of the 
West. The pope wrote to Theophilus exhorting him to appear before a council, 
where sentence should be given according to the canons of Nicaea. He also 
addressed letters to Chrysostom, to his flock and several of his friends, in the hope 
of redressing these evils by a new council, as did also the Western emperor, 
Honorius. But Arcadius and Eudoxia found means to prevent any such assembly, 

181 


January 27] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the mere prospect of which filled Theophilus and other ringleaders of his faction 
with alarm. 

Chrysostom was suffered to remain at Constantinople two months after Easter. 
On Thursday in Whit-week the emperor sent an order for his banishment. The 
holy man bade adieu to the faithful bishops, and took his leave of St Olympias and 
the other deaconesses, who were overwhelmed with grief. He then left the church 
by stealth to prevent a sedition, and was conducted into Bithynia, arriving at 
Nicaea on June 20, 404. After his departure a fire broke out and burnt down the 
great church and the senate house. The cause of the conflagration was unknown, 
and many of the saint's supporters were put to the torture on this account, but no 
discovery was ever made. The Emperor Arcadius chose Cucusus, a little place in 
the Taurus mountains of Armenia, for St John's exile. He set out from Nicaea 
in July, and suffered very great hardships from the heat, fatigue and the brutality 
of his guards. After a seventy days' journey he arrived at Cucusus, where the good 
bishop of the place vied with his people in showing him every mark of kindness 
and respect. Some of the letters which Chrysostom addressed from exile to St 
Olympias and others have survived, and it was to her that he wrote his treatise on 
the theme " That no one can hurt him who does not hurt himself ". 

Meanwhile Pope Innocent and the Emperor Honorius sent five bishops to 
Constantinople to arrange for a council, requiring that in the meantime Chrysostom 
should be restored to his see. But the deputies were cast into prison in Thrace, 
for the party of Theophilus (Eudoxia had died in childbed in October) saw that 
if a council were held they would inevitably be condemned. They also got an 
order from Arcadius that John should be taken farther away, to Pityus at the 
eastern end of the Black Sea, and two officers were sent to convey him thither. 
One of these was not altogether destitute of humanity, but the other was a ruffian 
who would not give his prisoner so much as a civil word. They often travelled in 
scorching heat, from which the now aged Chrysostom suffered intensely ; and in 
the wettest weather they forced him out of doors and on his way. When they 
reached Comana in Cappadocia he was very ill, yet he was hurried a further five 
or six miles to the chapel of St Basiliscus. During the night there this martyr 
seemed to appear to John and said to him, " Courage, brother ! To-morrow we 
shall be together." The next day, exhausted and ill, John begged that he might 
stay there a little longer. No attention was paid ; but when they had gone four 
miles, seeing that he seemed to be dying, they brought him back to the chapel. 
There the clergy changed his clothes, putting white garments on him, and he 
received the Holy Mysteries. A few hours later St John Chrysostom uttered his 
last words, " Glory be to God for all things ", and gave up his soul to God. It 
was Holy Cross day, September 14, 407. 

St John's body was taken back to Constantinople in the year 438, the Emperor 
Theodosius II and his sister St Pulcheria accompanying the archbishop St Proclus 
in the procession, begging forgiveness of the sins of their parents who had so 
blindly persecuted the servant of God. It was laid in the church of the Apostles 
on January 27, on which day Chrysostom is honoured in the West, but in the East 
his festival is observed principally on November 13, but also on other dates. In 
the Byzantine church he is the third of the Three Holy Hierarchs and Universal 
Teachers, the other two being St Basil and St Gregory Nazianzen, to whom the 
Western church adds St Athanasius to make the four great Greek doctors ; and 
in 1909 St Pius X declared him to be the heavenly patron of preachers of the word 

182 


ST MARIUS, OR MAY [January 27 

of God. He is commemorated in the Byzantine, Syrian, Chaldean and Maronite 
eucharistic liturgies, in the great intercession or elsewhere. 

Our principal sources for the story of St John's life are the Dialogue of Palladius (whom 
Abbot Cuthbert Butler, with the assent of nearly all recent scholars, considers to be identical 
with the author of the Lausiac History), the autobiographical details which may be gleaned 
from the homilies and letters of the saint himself, the ecclesiastical histories of Socrates and 
Sozomen, and the panegyric attributed to a certain Martyrius. The literature of the subject 
is, of course, vast. No better general account can be recommended, especially in view of 
its admirable setting in a background which does justice to the circumstances of the times, 
than that provided by Mgr Duchesne in his Histoire ancienne de VEglise (English trans.), 
vols, ii and iii ; but the definitive biography is by Dom C. Baur, Der hi. Johannes Chrysostomus 
und seine Zeit (2 vols., 1 929-1 930). An English translation of the Dialogue of Palladius was 
published in 1921, and the Greek text, ed. P. R. Coleman-Norton, in 1928. In English at 
the general level mention may be made of lives by W. R. W. Stephens (1883) and D. Attwater 
( I 939)> an d Dr A. Fortescue's lively sketch in The Greek Fathers (1908). A good intro- 
duction to the works is (Greek) Selections from St John Chrysostom (1940), ed. Cardinal 
D'Alton. See also Puech, St John Chrysostom (English trans.) in the series " Les Saints " ; 
the volume of essays brought out at Rome in 1908, under the title XpvooorofUKd, in honour 
of the fifteenth centenary ; the article by Canon E. Venables in DCB., vol. i, pp. 518-535 ; 
and that by G. Bardy in DTC, vol viii, cc. 660 seq., where a full bibliography will be found. 

ST JULIAN, Bishop of Le Mans (Date Unknown) 

In Alban Butler's time a relic was preserved at the cathedral of Le Mans which 
was believed to be the head of St Julian. He was certainly also honoured in 
England, for his name occurs on this day in the calendar of the Eadwine Psalter 
of Trinity College, Cambridge (before 1 170), and his feast was kept throughout the 
southern dioceses of England where the Sarum use was followed. How many of 
the six ancient churches in this country which were dedicated to St Julian can be 
referred to the bishop of Le Mans is quite uncertain,, for undoubtedly some of them 
were built in honour of the more or less mythical saint known as Julian the Hos- 
pitaller (February 12). We know absolutely nothing which is certain about St 
Julian's life. The lessons in the Sarum breviary describe him as a noble Roman 
who became the first bishop of Le Mans and the apostle of that part of France, and 
they also attribute to him some stupendous miracles. We can only say that there 
is evidence in the seventh century of a chapel called basilica Sti Juliani episcopi, 
and that in the catalogues of the bishops of Le Mans, St Julian always heads the 
list. A quite extravagant later legend described him as one of the seventy-two 
disciples of our Lord, and as identical with Simon the Leper. It is probable that 
the introduction of the cultus of St Julian into England was due to the fact that 
King Henry II, who was born at Le Mans, is said to have been baptized in the 
church of St Julian there and may have preserved some personal devotion to the 
saint. 

See Duchesne, Fastes fipiscopaux, vol. ii, pp. 309, 323, 331 ; the Acta Sanctorum for 
January 27 ; Arnold- Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, vol. i, pp. 435-436 ; and 
especially A. Ledru, Les premiers temps de VEglise du Mans (191 3). 

ST MARIUS, or MAY, Abbot (c. a.d. 555) 

We have no very certain information concerning St Marius, who in the Roman 
Martyrology appears as Maurus, while Bobacum is given as the name of the 
monastery which he governed. Both these designations seem to be erroneous. 

183 


January 27] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

There was an abbey of Bodon in the ancient diocese of Sisteron (Departement de 
la Drome), and St Marius is named as its founder and first abbot. We are told 
that he was born at Orleans ; that he became a monk and made a pilgrimage to 
the tomb of St Denis near Paris, where he was miraculously cured of an illness ; 
and that every year he used to spend the forty days of Lent as a recluse in the forest. 
In one of these retreats he foresaw in a vision the desolation which the inroads of 
the barbarians would soon cause in Italy, and also the destruction of his own 
monastery. But the evidence for all this is quite unreliable. 

See the Acta Sanctorwn for January 27 ; Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxiv, pp. 96 seq. ; 
and Isnard in Bulletin Soc. Archeol. Drome, vols, i and ii (1866-68). 

ST VITALIAN, Pope (a.d. 672) 

Pope Vitalian is said to have been a native of Segni in Campania, but we hear 
nothing of him before he was elected to the papacy in 657, nor have we any know- 
ledge of his life apart from his public acts. His pontificate was somewhat troubled 
by the strong monothelite leanings of two successive patriarchs of Constantinople 
and of the Emperor Constans II and his successor. A more consoling picture is 
offered by the pope's relations with the Church in England, as they may be read 
in the pages of Bede. It was in his time that St Benedict Biscop paid his first visit 
to Rome and that the differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic bishops 
regarding the keeping of Easter and other points of controversy were settled at the 
Council of Streaneshalch (Whitby). It was also Pope St Vitalian who sent 
to England St Theodore of Tarsus as archbishop of Canterbury, and the African 
monk St Adrian, who became abbot of St Augustine's. The influence of both 
was very great in training the Anglo-Saxon clergy and in drawing closer the 
bonds between England and the Holy See. St Vitalian died in 672, and was 
buried in St Peter's. 

Our principal sources are the Liber Pontijicalis (ed. Duchesne), vol. i, pp. 343 seq. ; Bede's 
Ecclesiastical History ; and the pope's letters, though some of those attributed to him are 
spurious. See also the Acta Sanctorum for January 27, and DCB., vol. iv, pp. 1161-1163. 

BD JOHN OF WARNETON, Bishop of Therouanne (a.d. 
1130) 

We possess a contemporary biography of this John which was written by his 
archdeacon, John de Collemedi. A pious and clever child, he had attracted 
attention in early years and had been fortunate enough to number amongst his 
teachers Lambert of Utrecht and St Ivo of Chartres. After completing his studies 
he returned to his own province, and shortly afterwards retired to the monastery 
of Mont-Saint-Eloi, near Arras. Here the bishop of Arras became acquainted 
with him and, in spite of his reluctance, persuaded him to act as archdeacon in his 
diocese ; this was a stepping-stone to promotion to the see of Therouanne. It 
needed an exercise of papal authority to constrain John to undertake the charge. 
As bishop he was held in the highest esteem ; the Holy See confided to him many 
important missions, more particularly in the matter of the reform of monastic 
discipline, and he was consulted by such prelates as his old master, St Ivo. Al- 
though firm in maintaining ecclesiastical discipline, he was pre-eminently gentle 
and kindly by nature : when an attempt was made to assassinate him, Bd John 

184 


ST PETER NOLASCO [January 28 

refused to take any action against the perpetrators of the outrage. His death 
occurred on January 27, 1130. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 27 ; the Biographie nationale, vol. x, pp. 422-423 ; 
and Destombes, Vies des saints des dioceses de Cambrai et d* Arras, vol. i, pp. 1 13-125. 


28 


• ST PETER NOLASCO, Founder of the Order of Our Lady 
of Ransom (a.d. 1258) 


PETER, of the noble family of Nolasco in Languedoc, was born about the 
year 1189. At the age of fifteen he lost his father, who left him heir to a 
great estate ; and he remained at home under the tutelage of a mother who 
encouraged all his good aspirations. Being solicited to marry, he set himself first 
to ponder seriously the vanity of earthly things ; and rising one night full of those 
thoughts, he prostrated himself in prayer which continued till morning, consecrating 
himself to God in the state of celibacy and dedicating his whole patrimony to His 
service. Some authors affirm that Peter took part in the campaign of Simon de 
Montfort against the Albigenses. The count vanquished them, and in the battle 
of Muret defeated and killed Peter, King of Aragon, and took his son James prisoner, 
a child of six years old. The conqueror is further said to have given him Peter 
Nolasco, then twenty-five years old, for a tutor, ?.nd to have sent them both together 
into Spain. But it is now generally admitted that there is no adequate evidence 
for connecting St Peter with the Albigensian campaign or with the education of the 
future King James. 

The Moors at that time were masters of a great part of Spain, and numbers of 
Christians who had been made slaves groaned under their tyranny both there and 
in Africa. Compassion for the poor had always been the distinguishing virtue of 
Peter. The pitiful spectacle of these unfortunates, and the consideration of the 
dangers to which their faith and virtue stood exposed under their Mohammedan 
masters, touched his heart, and he soon spent his estate in redeeming as many as 
he could. Whenever he saw any slaves, he used to say, " Behold eternal treasures 
which never fail ". By his fervent appeals he moved others to contribute large 
alms towards this charity, and at last formed the project of instituting a religious 
order to maintain a constant supply of men and means whereby to carry on so 
charitable an undertaking. This design encountered many difficulties ; but it is 
said that our Lady appeared to St Peter, to the king of Aragon and to St Raymund 
of Penafort in distinct visions on the same night, and encouraged them to carry 
the scheme into effect under the assurance of her patronage and protection. St 
Raymund was the spiritual director both of St Peter and of King James, and a 
zealous promoter of this work. The king declared himself the protector of the 
order, and assigned them quarters in his own palace by way of a commencement. 
On August 10, 1223 the king and St Raymund conducted St Peter to the church, 
and presented him to Berengarius, Bishop of Barcelona, who received his three 
religious vows, to which the saint added a fourth, to devote his whole substance 
and his very liberty, if necessary, to the work of ransoming slaves. The like vow 
was exacted of all his followers. St Raymund preached on the occasion, and 

* For the commemoration of St Agnes on this day, see under that saint on January 21. 

185 


January 28] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

declared that it had pleased Almighty God to reveal His will to King James, to 
Peter Nolasco and to himself, enjoining the institution of an order for the ransom 
of the faithful detained in bondage among the infidels.* This was received by the 
people with acclamation. St Peter received the new habit from St Raymund, who 
established him first master general of the order, and drew up for it rules and 
constitutions. Two other gentlemen were professed at the same time with St 
Peter. When Raymund went to Rome, he obtained from Pope Gregory IX in 
1235 the confirmation of the foundation and its rule. 

King James having conquered the kingdom of Valencia, founded in it several 
houses of the order, one of which was in the city of Valencia itself. The town 
had been taken by the aid of Peter Nolasco's prayers, when the soldiers had des- 
paired of success, and it was in fact to the prayers of the saint that the king attributed 
the great victories which he obtained over the infidels, and the entire conquest of 
Valencia and Murcia. St Peter, touching the main work of the order, ordained 
that two members should always be sent together amongst the infidels, to treat 
about the ransom of captives, and they are hence called ransomers. One of the 
two employed at the outset in this way was the saint himself, and Valencia was the 
first place which was blessed with his labours ; the second was Granada. He not 
only comforted and ransomed a great number, but by his charity and example 
was the instrument of inducing many Mohammedans to embrace the faith of 
Christ. He made several other journeys to those regions of the coast of Spain 
which were held by the Moors, besides a voyage to Algiers, where he underwent 
imprisonment. But the most terrifying dangers could never make him desist 
from his endeavours for the conversion of the infidels, burning as he was with a 
desire of martyrdom. 

St Peter resigned the offices of ransomer and master general some years before 
his death, which took place on Christmas day 1256. In his last moments he 
exhorted his religious to perseverance, and concluded with those words of the 
psalmist : " The Lord hath sent redemption to His people ; He hath commanded 
His covenant for ever ". He then recommended his soul to God, appealing to the 
charity which brought Jesus Christ from Heaven to redeem us from the captivity 
of the Devil, and so died, being in the sixty-seventh year of his age. His relics 
were honoured by many miracles, and he was canonized in 1628. 

Alban Butler's account of St Peter Nolasco, summarized above without sub- 
stantial change, represents the version of his story which is traditional in the 
Mercedarian Order. But it must be confessed that hardly any detail in this 
narrative has escaped trenchant criticism, and that, to say the least, the facts 
connected with the foundation of the order are wrapped in hopeless uncertainty. 
Great disagreement exists, even in Mercedarian sources, regarding the date of the 
ceremonial foundation in the presence of Bishop Berengarius. By some this event 
is assigned to 12 18 ; by others, as above, to 1223 ; by others again to 1228 ; and 
by Father Vacas Galindo, o.p., in his San Raimundo de Penafort (1919), to 1234. 
As pointed out above under January 23, a rather heated controversy arose between 
the Dominicans and the Mercedarians, the former attributing a predominant 
influence in the creation of this work for the redemption of captives to the great 
Dominican, St Raymund of Penafort -, the latter contending that he was merely 

* Members of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom are commonly called Mercedarians : 
Spanish merced = ransom. They now engage in general apostolic and charitable work, 
though the vow to ransom captives is still taken at profession. 

186 


ST JOHN OF REOMAY [January 28 

the confidant of St Peter and that at the time of the foundation he was not yet a 
Dominican but a canon of Barcelona. One extremely suspicious feature in the 
Mercedarian case cannot easily be explained away. At the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, when the cause of the canonization of St Peter Nolasco was 
being pressed at Rome, there was discovered most opportunely behind a brick wall 
in the Mercedarian house at Barcelona an iron casket full of documents, hitherto 
quite unknown, which purported to establish upon irrefragable evidence just the 
points on which the promoters of the cause were most anxious to insist. The most 
famous of these, known as the documento de los sellos (the deed with the seals) was 
a notarial act drafted in 1260 — so at least the document itself affirmed — with the 
express object of being submitted to the Holy See in vindication of St Peter's 
claims to sanctity. Now this deed, which contains an account of the apparition 
of our Lady to Peter himself, to King James and to Senor Raimundo de Penafort 
(and which states that a swarm of bees built a honeycomb in Peter's hand when 
he was an infant in the cradle), after being cited for nearly three centuries as the 
most authentic memorial of the saint's history is now admitted to be a forgery. It 
is Father Gazulla himself, the Mercedarian champion (in a paper read before the 
Literary Academy of Barcelona, A I Mar gen de una Refutation, 1921) who has shown 
that Pedro Bages, the notary whose name appears as drafting the document of the 
seals in 1260, had died before February 4, 1259. When this primary instrument 
is thus proved to be spurious, what possible value can attach to the rest of the 
contents of the suspicious iron casket ? It would serve no good purpose to pursue 
the matter further. 

See the book of Fr Vacas Galindo, o.p., referred to above ; Fr P. N. Perez Merc, San 
Pedro Nolasco (1915) ; M. Even, Une page de Vhistoire de la charite (1018) ; Analecia Bol- 
landiana, vol. xxxix (1921), pp. 209 seq., and vol. xl (1922), pp. 442 seq. ; and two articles 
by Fr Kneller, s.j., in Stimmen aus Maria Laach, vol. li (1896), at pp. 272 and 357. Fr 
F. D. Gazulla has produced several volumes on the Mercedarian side, notably a Refutacion 
of Fr Galindo 's book in 1920, and in 1934 La Orden de N.S. de la Merced. : Estudios histdrico- 
criticos, 1218-1317 ; on this last cf. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lv (1937), pp. 412-415. 

ST JOHN OF REOMAY, Abbot (c. a.d. 544) 

Although we have a good early biography of Abbot John, the story it tells is a 
very simple one. He was a native of the diocese of Langres, and took the monastic 
habit at Lerins. Later on he was recalled into his own country by the bishop to 
found the abbey from which he received his surname, but which was afterwards 
called Moutier- Saint- Jean. He governed it for many years with a great reputation 
of sanctity, and was rendered famous by miracles. It is recorded of him that he 
refused to converse with his own mother when she came to the abbey to visit him. 
He showed himself to her, however, at a distance, sent her a message to encourage 
her to aim at a high standard of virtue, and warned her that she would not behold 
him again until they met in Heaven. He went to God about the year 544, when 
more than a hundred years old, and was one of the pioneers of the monastic state 
in France. 

The biography of St John of Reomay has been edited by B. Krusch in MGH., Serif tores 
Merov. y vol. iii, pp. 502-517. As Krusch has shown in his article " Zwei Heiligenleben des 
Jonas von Susa ", in the Mittheilungen of the Austrian Historical Society, vol. xiv, pp. 
385 seq., the texts previously edited have no value. The author of the vita was Jonas of 
Susa, and not a contempoiary. 

187 


January 28] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST PAULINUS, Patriarch of Aquileia (a.d. 804) 

One of the most illustrious and holy prelates of the eighth and ninth centuries was 
this Paulinus of Aquileia, who seems to have been born about the year 726 in a 
country farm not far from Friuli. His family had no other revenue than what they 
made by their farm, and he spent part of his youth tilling the soil. Yet he found 
leisure for studies, and in process of time became so famous as a grammarian and 
professor that Charlemagne wrote to him, addressing him as Master of Grammar 
and Very Venerable. This epithet seems to imply that he was then a priest. The 
same monarch, in recognition of his merit, bestowed on him an estate in his own 
country. It seems to have been about the year 776 that Paulinus was promoted, 
against his will, to the patriarchate of Aquileia,* and from the zeal, piety and talents 
of St Paulinus this church derived its greatest lustre. Charlemagne required him 
to attend all the great councils which were held in his time, however remote the 
place of assembly, and he convened a synod himself at Friuli in 791 or 796 against 
the errors which were then being propagated against the mystery of the Incarnation. 

The more serious of these false teachings took the form of what is known as 
the Adoptionist heresy. Felix, Bishop of Urgel in Catalonia, professed to prove 
that Christ, as man, is not the natural but only the adoptive Son of God. St 
Paulinus set to work to confute him in a work which he transmitted to Charlemagne. 
He was not less concerned in the conversion of the heathen than in the suppression 
of error, and was instrumental in preaching the gospel to those idolaters in Carinthia 
and Styria who as yet remained in their superstitions. At the same time the 
conquest of the Avars by Pepin opened a new field for the bishop's zeal, and many 
of them received the faith through missionaries sent by St Paulinus and the bishops 
of Salzburg. Paulinus strongly opposed the baptism of barbarians before they 
had received prQper instruction and the attempt — so common in those days — to 
force Christianity upon them by violence. 

When the duke of Friuli was appointed governor over the Hunnish tribes 
which he had lately conquered, St Paulinus wrote for his use an excellent " Ex- 
hortation ", in which he urges him to aspire after Christian perfection, and lays 
down rules on the practice of penance, on the remedies against different vices, 
especially pride, on an earnest desire to please God in all our actions, on prayer 
and its essential dispositions, on holy communion, on shunning bad company, and 
on other matters. He closes the book with a most useful prayer, and in the 
beginning promises to pray for the salvation of the good duke. By his fervent 
supplications he never ceased to draw down the blessings of the divine mercy on 
the souls committed to his charge. Alcuin earnestly besought him, whenever he 
offered the spotless Victim at the altar, to implore the divine mercy on his behalf. 
St Paulinus closed a holy life by a happy death on January 11, 804. 

The works of St Paulinus have been edited by J. F. Madrisi, and will be found in Migne, 
PI,., vol. xcix, cc. 17-130 ; see also the Acta Sanctorum for January u ; C. Giannoni, 
Paulijius II, Patriarch von Aquileia (1896) ; and DCB., vol. iv, pp. 246-248. 

BD CHARLEMAGNE (a.d. 814) 

The life of Charlemagne (born in 742 ; king of the Franks, 768 ; first Holy Roman 

emperor, 800 ; died, 814) belongs to general history, and his is a somewhat 

* For this title, see herein a footnote under St Laurence Giustiniani on September 5. 


ST AMADEU OF LAUSANNE [January 28 

surprising name to find in any book of saints. There does not appear to 
have been any noticeable cultus of him till 1166, when it began to develop 
under the rather sinister auspices of Frederick Barbarossa ; and an antipope, 
Guy of Crema (" Paschal III "), appears to have equivalently sanctioned it. 
It is interesting to note that St Joan of Arc associated " St Charlemagne " with 
the devotion she paid to St Louis of France, and that in 1475 the observance 
of a feast in his honour was made obligatory throughout that country. Prosper 
Lambertini, later Pope Benedict XIV, discusses the question at some length 
in his great work on beatification and canonization, and he concludes that 
the title Blessed may not improperly be allowed to so great a defender of the 
Church and the papacy. To-day, however, the cultus of Charlemagne is con- 
fined to the keeping of a feast in his honour in Aachen and two Swiss 
abbeys. 

The main source of our more personal knowledge of Charlemagne is the biography 
wiitten by h s contemporary and friend Einhard, the best edition being that of G. Waitz in 
MGH., Scriptores, vol. ii, and separately. See also the Acta Sanctorum for January 28, and 
especially the long discussion of various controverted matters in DAC, vol. iii, with full 
bibliographical references. Cf. also the remarks of E. Amann on Charlemagne's character' 
in Fliche and Martin, Histoire de rft^Iise, vol. vi, p. 200, and R. Folz, Etudes sur le culte 
liturgique de Charlemagne . . . (1951). 

ST AMADEUS, Bishop of Lausanne (a.d. 1159) 

This Amadeus was of the royal house of Franconia and born at the casiie of Chatte 
in Dauphine in 11 10. When he was eight years old his father, Amadeus of Cler- 
mont, Lord of Hauterive, took the religious habit at the Cistercian abbey of 
Bonnevaux. Young Amadeus went to Bonnevaux to be educated there, but after 
a time he and his father migrated to Cluny. Amadeus senior returned to the more 
austere Cistercian house, while Amadeus junior went for a short time into the 
household of the Emperor Henry V. He then received the Cistercian habit at 
Clairvaux, where he lived for fourteen years. In 1139 the abbot of Hautecombe 
in Savoy retired and St Bernard appointed Amadeus in his place ; the monastery 
had adopted the reform only four years before and its temporal affairs were in a 
bad way. St Amadeus encouraged the community to bear these extra hardships 
cheerfully, and by careful administration got the monastery out of its difficulties. 
In 1 144 he accepted, by order of Pope Lucius II, the see of Lausanne, where he 
was at once involved in struggles with the nobles of the diocese and a vain effort 
to induce the Emperor Conrad to go to the help of the pope against Pierleone. 
When Amadeus III, Duke of Savoy, went on the Second Crusade, St Amadeus 
was appointed as a sort of co-regent with his son Humbert ; and four years before 
his death he was made chancellor of Burgundy by Frederick Barbarossa. Nicholas, 
the secretary of St Bernard, speaks highly of the virtues of this active bishop, and 
his age-long cultus was approved in 191 o. A number of sermons of St Amadeus 
are extant. 

There seems to be no early life of Amadeus, but an account of him has been compiled 
from various sources in such works as the Gallia Christiana, vol. xv, pp. 346-348, and 
Manrique, Annates Cistercienses, under the year 11 58. A more modern survey of his 

career will be found in the Cister denser -Ghronik, vol. xi (1891), pp. 50 seq. and vol. xxiii 
(191 1 ), pp. 297 seq. and see A. Dimier, Aniedee de Lausanne (1949) in the series " Figures 
monastiques ". 

189 


January 28] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

BD JAMES THE ALMSGIVER (ad. 1304) 

There is, or at any rate once was, a curious contest between the Friars Minor and 
the Servites regarding the religious status of the servant of God who is known as 
James the Almsgiver. The Servites keep his feast every year on this day in virtue 
of a rescript of Pope Pius IX, and he is described in their martyrology asa " con- 
fessor of the Third Order of the Servants of Blessed Mary the Virgin, whose 
memory remaineth for a blessing among his fellow-citizens ". On the other hand, 
the Third Order of the Franciscans also claims him as a recruit, although his name 
does not occur in the general martyrology of the Friars Minor. Mazzara in his 
Leggendario Francescano (1676) indignantly rejects the claim of the Servites to 
number Bd James among the adherents of their own religious family. 

The essential features of the story as told by either party are the same. James 
was the son of well-to-do parents at the small town of Citta delle Pieve, not far 
from Chiusi in Lombardy, and studied for the law. Hearing a sermon on the 
words, " He that doth not renounce all that he possesseth cannot be My disciple ", 
he determined to become a priest, and thereafter led a most ascetic life. Not far 
from Citta delle Pieve he discovered a hospital with a chapel which had been allowed 
to fall into ruin. He restored the buildings, furnished it as well as he could, and 
then devoted himself to receiving and tending all the sick and afflicted for whom 
he could find room. He also, we are told, used his legal knowledge in gratuitously 
helping and advising those who were oppressed, and in these ways became much 
beloved by the poor throughout the whole country. 

It happened, however, that on inquiring into the past history of his hospice, 
James discovered that its revenues had been scandalously appropriated for their 
own emolument by former occupants of the see of Chiusi. He respectfully repre- 
sented the matter to the actual bishop, laying the documents before him, but could 
obtain no redress. Then he felt it his duty to take proceedings in both the 
ecclesiastical and civil courts, and the case in the end was given in his favour. The 
bishop dissembled his resentment, and invited James to dine with him, having 
previously hired a band of ruffians to waylay and assassinate him on his return. 
The conscientious student of Italian (and other) history has often regretfully to 
confess that the social and ecclesiastical life of the " ages of faith " was not always 
so ideal as certain apologists are inclined to represent it. The plot was carried out 
successfully, and for a time no trace of the murdered man was discovered. But 
some shepherds passing through the forest were astonished to come upon a pear-tree 
and other neighbouring shrubs in full blossom, though it was still winter. Whilst 
they stood wondering and somewhat alarmed at the portent, they heard, we 
are told, a voice which said to them, " Have no fear ; I am James, the priest, who 
have been murdered for defending the rights of the Church and of the poor ". 
It would certainly be rash to guarantee the truth of this and other supernatural 
incidents which are said to have attended the discovery of the body and its inter- 
ment in the chapel of the hospice. But we are told that 174 years later the 
remains were found still incorrupt when a second translation took place. The 
date given for the murder — Mazzara calls it the martyrdom — of Bd James is 
January 15, 1304. 

See Mazzara, Legaendario Francescano (1676), \ol. i, pp. 95-98 ; and Spoeri, Lebembilder 
aus dem Servitenorden (1892), p. 605. 

190 


ST PETER THOMAS [January 28 

BD ANTONY OF AMANDOLA (ad. 1350) 

Bd Antony seems to have been born not far from Ascoli Piceno, about the year 
1260. He joined the Augustinians in 1306, the year that St Nicholas of Tolentino 
went to his reward, and he is said to have tried to copy the example of that great 
luminary of the order during the whole of his religious life. He is especially 
commended for his patience and for his charity towards the poor, and a great 
number of miracles are reported to have been wrought at his intercession. He 
died in 1350, and is said to have been ninety years old. His body lies at Amandola, 
and his feast is kept not only by the Augustinian friars but at Ancona and throughout 
the neighbouring district. 

See J. E. Stadler, Heilhen Lexikon (1861). 

ST PETER THOMAS, Titular Patriarch of Constantinople 
(a.d. 1366) 

The career of St Peter Thomas presents us with a curious combination of a religious 
vocation and a life spent in diplomacy. Born in 1305, of humble parentage, at the 
hamlet of Salles in the south-west of France, he at an early age came into contact 
with the Carmelites, and his abilities led them gladly to admit him into their 
noviceship at Condom ; in 1342 he was made procurator general of the order. 
This appointment led to his taking up his abode in Avignon, then the residence of 
the popes, and also indicated that in spite of high spiritual ideals he was known to 
be pre-eminently a man of affairs. His remarkable eloquence became known, 
and he was asked to deliver the funeral oration of Clement VI. It may be said 
that from that time forth, although he always retained the simplicity of a friar, his 
life was entirely spent in difficult negotiations as the representative of the Holy See. 
To describe the political complications in which he was called upon to intervene 
would take much space. It must suffice to say that he was sent as papal legate to 
negotiate with Genoa, Milan and Venice ; in 1354 he was consecrated bishop and 
represented the pope at Milan when the Emperor Charles IV was crowned king of 
Italy. Thence he proceeded to Serbia, and afterwards w r as charged with a mission 
to smooth the difficulties between Venice and Hungary ; going on to Constantinople 
he was instructed to make another effort to reconcile the Byzantine church with 
the West. 

What is most surprising in our days is that Innocent VI and Urban V seem to 
have placed Peter Thomas virtually in command of expeditions which were dis- 
tinctly military in character. He was sent to Constantinople in 1359 with a large 
contingent of troops and contributions in money, himself holding the title of 
" Universal Legate to the Eastern Church " ; and when in 1365 an expeditionary 
force w r as sent to make an attack on infidel Alexandria, again the legate had virtual 
direction of the enterprise. The expedition ended disastrously. In the assault 
the legate was more than once wounded with arrows, and when he died a holy death 
at Cyprus three months later (January 6, 1366) it was stated that these wounds had 
caused, or at least accelerated, the end, and he was hailed as a martyr. 

It is probable that among the reasons which led to the many diplomatic missions 
of St Peter Thomas we must reckon the economy thus effected for the papal 
exchequer at a time when it was very much depleted, for he dispensed with all 
unnecessary pomp and state. So far as he was himself concerned he travelled in 

191 


January 28] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the poorest way, and he was willing to face the great hardships which such expedi- 
tions then entailed even upon the most illustrious. We must also not forget that 
though his biographers write in a tone of rather indiscriminating panegyric, they 
are nevertheless agreed in proclaiming his own desire to evangelize the poor, his 
spirit of prayer, and the confidence which his holiness inspired in others. There 
are not many human touches to be found in our principal source, the biography of 
Mezieres, but it is a tribute to the impression which the bishop made on his 
contemporaries that Philip de Mezieres, who was himself a devoted Christian and 
a statesman of eminence, should speak of his friend in terms of such unstinted 
praise. A decree issued by the Holy See in 1608 authorized the celebration of 
St Peter's feast among the Carmelites as that of a bishop and martyr, but he has 
never been formally canonized. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 29 ; Fr Daniel, Vita S. Petri Thomae (1666) ; Parraud, 
Vie de St Pierre Thomas (1895) ; B. J. Smet, Life . . . by P. de Mezieres (1954). 

BD MARY OF PISA, Widow (ad. 143 1) 

The history of Bd Mary Mancini is a standing illustration of the principle that 
holiness depends very little upon external circumstances. There is, in fact, no 
condition of life which the interior spirit may not sanctify. Here we have a servant 
of God who was twice married and many times a mother, who then lived for several 
years in the world as a widow, joined a relaxed religious house, reformed it, and 
finally founded a community of exceptionally strict observance, in which she died 
at an advanced age in the fragrance of sanctity. 

The Mancini were a distinguished family in Pisa at a time when terrible things 
were occurring owing to the political factions prevalent in the Italian cities. We 
are told that Catherine (Mary was the name she afterwards took in religion) at the 
age of five and a half had an extraordinary experience. In an ecstasy or vision she 
witnessed the torture on the rack of Peter Gambacorta, who had been accused of 
conspiracy and was sentenced by his enemies to be hanged. The legend goes on to 
say that the child prayed so hard in her horror at what she witnessed that the rope 
broke with which Peter was being hanged, and that his judges then commuted the 
death penalty. After this our Lady appeared to her and bade her say the Lord's 
Prayer and the Angelical Salutation for him seven times every day, because she 
would eventually be supported by his bounty. Catherine was married at the age 
of twelve, and had two children. Her first husband died when she was sixteen, 
and, yielding to family influence, she married again. This union lasted eight years, 
and she bore her husband five children, nursing him also most devotedly for a year 
before his death ; her children seem to have all died young. 

Great pressure was used to induce Catherine to marry a third time, but she 
was resolute in her refusal, and she gave herself up completely to works of piety 
and charity. She converted her house into a hospital, and we are told strange 
stories of her drinking the wine with which she washed men's sores, on one occasion 
experiencing such intense sweetness and consolation in this conquest of her natural 
repugnance that she was convinced that the mysterious stranger whom she had 
been tending was no other than our Saviour Himself. During this period she was 
under the direction of the Dominicans and joined their third order. It was 
probably through them that she was brought into relation with St Catherine of 
Siena, and we still possess a letter of that great saint which was addressed to " Monna 

192 


BD JULIAN MAUNOIR [January 28 

Catarina e Monna Orsola ed altre donne di Pisa ". She had ecstasies sometimes 
even in the streets, and on one occasion, when thus taken by surprise, was knocked 
down by a mule. Eventually she entered the relaxed Dominican convent of Santa 
Croce, mainly with the object of bringing it back to stricter observance. We are 
told that she effected a great reform, but Sister Mary, as she was now, aspired 
after a life of greater austerity. Accordingly, with Bd Clare Gambacorta, she left 
Santa Croce to found a new community in a convent built for them by Clare's 
father, the same Peter Gambacorta for whom Mary had daily prayed. The nevv 
foundation was greatly blessed, and became a model, the fame of which spread 
throughout Italy. Here Bd Mary Mancini died on December 22, 1431. Her 
cultus was approved in 1855. 

See M. C de Ganay, Les Bienheureuses Dominicaines (191 3), pp. 237-250 ; and Procter, 
Dominican Saints, pp. 342-345. 

BD JULIAN MAUNOIR (ad. 1683) 

It cannot be said that the Christianity of seventeenth-century France is unknown 
among English-speaking Catholics, but there can be no doubt that its domestic 
missionary work is the aspect of which we have heard least. Monsieur Olier in 
Paris, Monsieur Vincent all over the place — yes. But St John Eudes in Normandy, 
St Peter Fourier in Lorraine, the Oratorian Father John Lejeune in the Limousin, 
Languedoc and Provence, St John Francis Regis in the Velay and Vivarais, of these 
we know little enough, and of the missions in Brittany perhaps nothing at all. Yet 
these last, in Henri Bremond's opinion, were the most successful of any, and 
certainly the most " picturesque ". They are associated in the first place with 
the names of Dom Michael Le Nobletz and of Father Julian Maunoir who, born in 
the diocese of Rennes in 1606, became a Jesuit in 1625, and was beatified in 195 1. 

No doubt the godlessness and barbarity of the Bretons, and the negligence of 
their clergy, at this time have been exaggerated, just as the woeful state of the 
Cornish before Wesley and the Welsh before Howel Harris and Griffith Jones and 
Daniel Rowlands has been exaggerated. But certainly they were a very super- 
stitious, rough and turbulent people, and at the same time as ready to respond to a 
religious call as their kinsmen across the Channel. The country of the readily 
used fish-knife and of " wreckers " (a phenomenon which certainly in England and 
probably in Brittany needs more critical examination than it commonly gets) was 
also the country of Armelle Nicolas and of those baroque calvaries and statues in 
Basse-Bretagne. Mystics prepared the way for missioners. And it was Father 
Bernard, s.j., and Dom Le Nobletz who directed the attention of Julian Maunoir 
to this field and urged him to learn the Breton language, which he mastered in a 
surprisingly short time. 

The comparison of Catholic Brittany with Protestant Wales and Cornwall is 
not gratuitous or far-fetched. In writing of the Breton missions Bremond uses 
the English word " revival " and refers to Bunyan and the Pilgrim's Progress ; and 
what he says lends point to the title, " A John Wesley of Armorican Cornwall ", 
given to his pamphlet on Maunoir by the Anglican historian of the Cornish 
saints, the late Canon Gilbert Doble. To read Sejourne's biography of Father 
Maunoir and then to turn to John Wesley's Journal is an instructive and 
thought-provoking exercise, or for that matter to compare the detailed journal 
that Maunoir kept too. 

J 93 


January 28] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

When Father Maunoir (" Tad Maner " in Breton) began his work in 1640 
there were two missionaries on the job ; when he died forty-three years later there 
were a thousand. Later on, Renan complained that his ancestors had been 
" jesuitified " and denationalized by a lot of foreign missioners. In fact, there was 
a handful of Jesuits, themselves mostly Breton, and a large majority of Breton 
pastoral clergy, who co-operated with the fathers of the Society and submitted 
themselves to the very rigorous discipline proposed to them by Father Maunoir. 
And the technique of their work was due to a priest who was a Breton of the 
Bretons and who was not a Jesuit, Michael Le Nobletz, " the last of the bards ". 

The work was primarily one of religious teaching ; " emotional preaching that 
swept the hearers off their feet certainly had a part, but it was secondary ". Among 
the " teachers' aids " used were large brightly-coloured pictures (some of them 
can still be seen in the episcopal library at Quimper) : they were illustrative of 
the Passion, the Lord's Prayer, the seven deadly sins and so forth, but more often 
allegorical — the Knight Errant, the Six Cities of Refuge, the Three Trees — that 
is, appeal was made to the imagination and to the " poetical " quality in the human 
mind, and it was these pictures, together with the liveliness and humour of the 
expositions that accompanied them, that reminded Bremond of Bunyan. But 
painted pictures were not enough, there must also be tableaux vivants. Hence 
arose the very remarkable processions, in which, for example, the way of the cross 
was enacted, the " actors " illustrating Father Maunoir's address at the stations, 
when he was often interrupted " by the sobbing and the shouts of the congregation". 
This was much too much like " enthusiasm " for some people and there were 
complaints ; but the Breton bishops backed the missioners. 

Another feature was the use of religious songs (cantiques), some of which no 
doubt were old ones brought back into use, but others Maunoir composed ad hoc. 
Apparently only one survives pretty well as he wrote it, and it loses badly in trans- 
lation from Breton into French ; but it is clear that Maunoir versified with power 
and feeling, and hymn-singing had a very notable part in the Breton " revivals ", 
again as in those of Wales and England in the following centuries. W T ith this use 
of the mother tongue went an emphasis on devotion to the local saints of early 
days. St Corentin's country, Cornouaille, the diocese of Quimper, was Maunoir's 
field of predilection. 

And just as the lives of the Celtic saints as they have come down to us are 
full of miracles — sometimes touching, sometimes fantastic or even positively 
disedifying, sometimes convincing — so Father Maunoir's evangelization was 
marked by numerous signs and wonders. Already in 1697 his first biographer, 
Father Boschet, s.j., had studied a book of his miracles and " found them so 
astonishing that I suspected the writer of having touched things up to glorify the 
holy man ". But after making inquiries on the spot Father Boschet became 
somewhat less sceptical : after all, he asks, is it surprising that Christianity should 
be revived in Brittany with the same helps with which it was introduced into the 
world ? On the natural side, Maunoir was not a man of outstanding intellectual 
force and was perhaps inclined to be credulous ; but he was a leader who was loved 
as well as obeyed, a first-rate organizer, and a man of insight : not a little of the 
lasting success of his work was due to his missions being directed as much to the 
shepherds as to their flocks. The pointer used in expounding their pictures 
became the distinguishing badge of his missioners, and it was a good symbol — they 
pointed out the way. 

194 


ST FRANCIS DE SALES [January 29 

At communion during his retreat before ordination, young Maunoir wrote, 
" I felt an extraordinary ardour for the salvation of souls and an overwhelming urge 
to work for that end in every possible way. The voice of our Lord said within 
me, ' I laboured, I wept, I suffered, I died for them '." Those words sum up 
Bd Julian's own life ; and after his death at Plevin in Cornouaille, on January 28, 
1683, pilgrims flocked in crowds to kiss the feet which had so often traversed 
Brittany, carrying the good news of salvation to its remotest corners. 

See Fr Boschet, Le parfait missionaire (1697) ; X. A. Sejourne, Histoire de . . . Julien 
Maunoir (1895) ; H. Bremond, Histoire litteraire du sentiment relv:ieux en France . . ., t. v, 
pp. 82-117 : P. Pourrat, La spirit: talitc chretienne, t. iv, p. 122 ; and G. H. Doble in Pax, 
no. 85 (1927), pp. 318-329. See also H. de Gouvello, Le venerable Michel le Nobletz (1898). 


29 


• ST FRANCIS DE SALES, Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the 
Church, Co-Founder of the Order of the Visitation (a.d. 
1622) 


ST FRANCIS DE SALES was born at the Chateau de Sales in Savoy on 
August 21, 1567, and on the following day was baptized in the parish church 
of Thorens under the name of Francis Bonaventure. His patron saint in 
after-life was the Poverello of Assisi, and the room in which he was born was known 
as "St Francis's room ", from a painting of the saint preaching to the birds and 
fishes. During his first years he was very frail and delicate, owing to his premature 
birth, but with care he gradually grew stronger, and, though never robust, he was 
singularly active and energetic throughout his career. His mother kept his early 
education in her own hands, aided by the Abbe Deage, who afterwards, as his tutor, 
accompanied Francis everywhere during his youth. He was remarkable in his 
childhood for obedience and truthfulness, and seems to have been eager to learn 
and to have loved books. At the age of eight Francis went to the College of 
Annecy. There he made his first communion in the church of St Dominic (now 
known as St Maurice), there he also received confirmation, and a year later he 
received the tonsure. Francis had a great wish to consecrate himself to God, and 
regarded this as the first outward step. His father (who at his marriage had taken 
the name of de Boisy) seems to have attached little importance to it, and destined 
his eldest son for a secular career. In his fourteenth year Francis was sent to the 
University of Paris, which at that time, with its 54 colleges, was one of the great 
centres of learning. He was intended for the College de Navarre, as it was fre- 
quented by the sons of the noble families of Savoy, but Francis, fearing for his 
vocation in such surroundings, implored to be allowed to go to the College de 
Clermont, which was under Jesuit direction and renowned for piety as well as for 
learning. Having obtained his father's consent to this, and accompanied by the 
Abbe Deage, he took up his abode in the Hotel de la Rose Blanche, Rue St Jacques, 
which was close to the College de Clermont. 

Francis soon made his mark, especially in rhetoric and philosophy, and he 
ardently devoted himself to the study of theology. To satisfy his father he took 
lessons in riding, dancing and fencing, but cared for none of them. His heart 
was more and more set upon giving himself wholly to God. He vowed perpetual 
chastity and placed himself under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. He 

195 


January 29] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

was, nevertheless, not free from trials. About his eighteenth year he was assailed 
by an agonizing temptation to despair. The love of God had always meant more 
than anything else to him, but he was now the prey of a terrible fear that he had 
lost God's grace and was doomed to hate Him with the damned for all eternity. 
This obsession pursued him day and night, and his health suffered visibly from the 
consequent mental anguish. It was a heroic act of pure love which brought him 
deliverance. " Lord ", he cried, " if I am never to see thee in Heaven, this at least 
grant me, that I may never curse nor blaspheme thy holy name. If I may not love 
thee in the other world — for in Hell none praise thee — let me at least every instant 
of my brief existence here love thee as much as I can." Directly afterwards, while 
kneeling before his favourite statue of our Lady, in the church of St Etienne des 
Gres, humbly saying the Memorare, all fear and despair suddenly left him and a 
deep peace filled his soul. This trial taught him early to understand and deal 
tenderly with the spiritual difficulties and temptations of others. 

He was twenty-four when he took his final degree and became a doctor of law 
at Padua, and he rejoined his family at the Chateau de Thuille on the Lake of 
Annecy, where for eighteen months this singularly attractive youth led, outwardly 
at least, the ordinary life of a young noble of his time. That he should marry was 
his father's greatest desire, and the bride destined for him was a charming girl, 
the heiress of a neighbour of the family. However, by his distant, though courteous 
manner to the young lady Francis soon showed that he could not follow his father's 
wishes in this matter. For a similar motive he declined the dignity offered him 
of becoming a member of the senate of Savoy, an unusual compliment to so young 
a man. Francis had so far only confided to his mother, to his cousin Canon Louis 
de Sales, and to a few intimate friends his earnest desire of devoting his life to the 
service of God. An explanation with his father, however, became inevitable. M. 
de Boisy had been greatly chagrined by his son's refusal of the senatorship and his 
determination not to marry, but neither of these disappointments appeared to have 
prepared him for the blow of Francis's vocation. The death of the provost of the 
chapter of Geneva suggested to Canon Louis de Sales the possibility that Francis 
might be appointed to this post, and that in this way his father's opposition might 
relax. Aided by Claud de Granier, Bishop of Geneva, but without consulting any 
of the family, he applied to the pope, with whom the appointment rested, and the 
letters instituting Francis provost of the chapter were promptly received from Rome. 
When the appointment was announced to Francis his surprise was extreme, and it 
was only with reluctance that he accepted the unsought honour, hoping thereby to 
obtain his father's consent to his ordination. M. de Boisy was a man of determined 
character and considered that his children ought to regard his expressed wish as 
final, and it required all the patient persuasiveness and respect which Francis could 
call to his aid before M. de Boisy at length gave way. Francis put on ecclesiastical 
dress the very day his father gave his consent, and six months afterwards, on 
December 18, 1593, he was ordained priest. He took up his duties with an ardour 
which never abated. He ministered to the poor with zealous love, and in the 
confessional devoted himself to the poorest and humblest with special predilection. 
He preached constantly, not only in Annecy, but in many other places. His style 
was so simple that it charmed his hearers, and, excellent scholar though he was, he 
avoided filling his sermons with Greek and Latin quotations, as was the prevailing 
custom. He was destined, however, soon to be called upon to undertake far more 
difficult and hazardous work. 

196 


ST FRANCIS DE SALES [January 29 

At this time, owing to armed hostilities and the inroads of Protestantism, the 
religious condition of the people of the Chablais, on the south shore of the Lake of 
Geneva, was deplorable, and the Duke of Savoy applied to Bishop de Granier to 
send missioners who might win back his subjects to the Church. In response the 
bishop sent a priest to Thonon, the capital of the Chablais. The first attempt was 
fruitless, and the priest was soon forced to withdraw. The bishop, summoning 
his chapter, put the whole matter before them, disguising none of the difficulties 
and dangers. Perhaps of all those present, the provost was the one who best 
realized the gravity of the task, but nevertheless he stood up and offered himself 
for the work, saying very simply, " My lord, if you think I am capable of under- 
taking the mission, tell me to go. I am ready to obey, and should be happy to be 
chosen." The bishop accepted at once, to Francis's great joy. But M. de Boisy 
took a different view of the matter and hastened to Annecy to stop what he called 
11 this piece of folly ". In his opinion it meant sending Francis to his death. 
Kneeling at the feet of the bishop he exclaimed, " My lord, I allowed my eldest 
son, the hope of my house, of my old age, of my life, to devote himself to the service 
of the Church to be a confessor, but I cannot give him up to be a martyr ! " When 
Mgr de Granier, impressed by the distress and insistence of his old friend, seemed 
on the point of yielding, it was Francis who implored him to be firm, saying, 
" Would you make me unworthy of the Kingdom of God ? Having put my hand 
to the plough, would you have me look back ? " 

The bishop used every argument likely to influence M. de Boisy, but he took 
his leave, saying, " I have no wish to resist the will of God, but I do not mean to 
be my son's murderer ! I cannot be a party to his throwing away his life ! May 
God do according to His good pleasure, but as to this undertaking, it shall never 
have my sanction I " Thus Francis had the disappointment of starting on his 
mission without his father's blessing. It was on September 14, 1594, Holy Cross 
day, that, travelling on foot and accompanied only by his cousin, Canon Louis de 
Sales, he set forth to win back the Chablais. The Chateau des Allinges, six or 
seven miles from Thonon, was where the governor of the province was stationed 
with a garrison, and here the cousins, for safety's sake, were to return each night. 
In Thonon, the residue of the once Catholic population amounted to about twenty 
scattered individuals, too afraid of violence to declare themselves openly. These 
Francis sought out and exhorted to courage and perseverance. The missionaries 
worked and preached daily in Thonon, gradually extending their efforts to the 
villages of the surrounding country. The walk to and from Allinges, a great 
additional tax on their endurance, was in the following winter on several occasions 
a matter of extreme danger. One evening Francis was attacked by wolves, and 
only escaped by spending the night in a tree. When daylight came he was found 
by some peasants in such an exhausted condition that had they not carried him to 
their hut and revived him with food and warmth he would certainly have died. 
These good people were Calvinists, and with his thanks Francis spoke such words 
of enlightenment and charity that they were afterwards converted. Twice in 
January 1595 he was waylaid by assassins who had sworn to take his life, but on 
both these occasions, as also several times later, he was preserved seemingly by 
miracle. 

Time went by with little apparent result to reward the labours of the two 
missioners, and all the while M. de Boisy was sending letters to his son, alternately 
commanding and imploring him to give up so hopeless a task. Francis could only 

197 


January 29] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

reply that short of a positive order from the bishop he had no right to forsake his 
post. He himself did not lose heart, notwithstanding the enormous difficulties. 
To a friend near Evian he wrote, " We are but making a beginning. I shall go on 
in good courage, and I hope in God against all human hope." He was constantly 
seeking new ways to reach the hearts and minds of the people, and he began writing 
leaflets setting forth the teaching of the Church as opposed to the errors of Calvin- 
ism. In every spare moment of his arduous day he wrote these little papers, which 
were copied many times by hand and distributed widely by all available means. 
These sheets, composed under such stress and difficulty, were later to form the 
volume of " Controversies ", and in their original form are still preserved in the 
archives of the Visitation Convent at Annecy. This was the beginning of his 
activities as a writer. To all this work Francis added the spiritual care of the sol- 
diers, quartered in the Chateau des Allinges, Catholic in name but an ignorant and 
dissolute crew. In the summer of 1595, going up the mountain of Voiron to restore 
an oratory of our Lady which had been destroyed by the Bernese, he was attacked 
by a hostile crowd, who insulted and beat him. Soon afterwards his sermons at 
Thonon began to be more numerously attended. The tracts too had been silently 
doing their work, and his patient perseverance under every form of persecution and 
hardship had not been without its effect. Conversions became more and more 
frequent, and before very long there was a steady stream of lapsed Catholics 
seeking reconciliation with the Church. 

After three or four years, when Bishop de Granier came to visit the mission, 
the fruits of Francis's self-sacrificing work and untiring zeal were unmistakable. 
The bishop was made welcome, and was able to administer confirmation. He 
even presided at the " Forty Hours ", a thing which seemed unthinkable in Thonon. 
Catholic faith and worship had been re-established in the province, and Francis 
could with justice be called the " Apostle of the Chablais ". A great bishop of 
Geneva in our own day, Marius Besson, has summed up his predecessor's apostolic 
spirit in a sentence that St Francis himself wrote to St Jane de Chantal : " I have 
always said that whoever preaches with love is preaching effectively against the 
heretics, even though he does not say a single controversial word against them." 
And Mgr Besson quotes Cardinal du Perron : " I hope that, with God's help, the 
learning He has given me is enough easily to convince heretics of their errors ; but 
if you want to convert them, take them to my Lord of Geneva : God has given him 
a quality through which all those to whom he speaks come away converted." 

Mgr de Granier, who had long been considering Francis in the light of a possible 
coadjutor and successor, felt that the moment had now come to give effect to this. 
When the proposal was made Francis was at first unwilling, but in the end he yielded 
to the persistence of the bishop, submitting to what he ultimately felt was a mani- 
festation of the Divine Will. Soon he fell dangerously ill with a fever which kept 
him for a time hovering between life and deaih. When sufficiently recovered he 
proceeded to Rome, where Pope Clement VIII, having heard much in praise of the 
virtue and ability of the young provost, desired that he should be examined in his 
presence. On the appointed day there was a great assemblage of learned theologians 
and men of eminent intellect. The pope himself, Baronius, Bellarmine, Cardinal 
Frederick Borromeo (a cousin of St Charles) and others put no less than thirty-five 
abstruse questions of theology to Francis, all of which he answered with simplicity 
and modesty, but in a way which proved his learning. His appointment as 
coadjutor of Geneva was confirmed, and Francis returned to take up his work with 

198 


ST FRANCIS DE SALES [January 29 

fresh zeal and energy. Early in 1602 he was in Paris. During his stay he was 
invited to preach a course in the chapel royal, which soon proved too small to hold 
the crow T d that came to listen to his simple and moving but uncompromising words 
of truth. He was in high favour with Henry IV, who used every inducement to 
get him to remain in France, and renewed his efforts in later years when Francis 
was again in Paris. But the young bishop would not forsake his " poor 
bride ", his mountain diocese, for the " rich wife ", the more imposing see, 
offered him. King Henry said that " My Lord of Geneva has every virtue and 
not a fault ". 

Francis succeeded to the see of Geneva on the death of Claud de Granier in 
the autumn of 1602, and took up his residence at Annecy, with a household 
organized on lines of the strictest economy. To the fulfilment of his episcopal 
duties he gave himself with unstinted generosity and devotion. He thought out 
every detail for the government of his diocese, and apart from all his administrative 
work continued to preach and minister in the confessional with unremitting 
devotion. He organized the teaching of the catechism throughout the diocese, 
and at Annecy gave the instructions himself, with such glowing interest and fervour 
that years after his death the " Bishop's Catechisms " were still vividly remembered. 
Children loved him and followed him about. His unselfishness and charity, his 
humility and clemency, could not have been surpassed. In dealing with souls, 
though always gentle, he was never weak, and he could be very firm when kindness 
did not prevail. In his wonderful Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote, " The 
measure of love, is to love without measure ", and this he not only taught, but lived. 
The immense correspondence which he carried on brought encouragement and wise 
guidance to innumerable persons who sought his help. A prominent place in this 
work of spiritual direction was held by St Jane Frances de Chantal, who first 
became known to him in 1604, when he was preaching Lenten sermons at Dijon. 
The foundation of the Order of the Visitation in 16 10 was the result that evolved 
from this meeting of the two saints. His most famous book, the Introduction to the 
Devout Life, grew out of the casual notes of instruction and advice which he wrote 
to Mme de Chamoisy, a cousin by marriage, who had placed herself under his 
guidance. He was persuaded to publish them in a little volume which, with some 
additions, first appeared in 1608. The book was at once acclaimed a spiritual 
masterpiece, and soon translated into many languages. In 1610 came the heavy 
sorrow of his mother's death (his father had died nine years before). " My heart 
was very full and I wept over that good mother more than I have wept since I became 
a priest," were his words afterwards, written to Mme de Chantal. Francis survived 
his mother twelve laborious years. 

In 1622, the Duke of Savoy, going to meet Louis XIII at Avignon, invited St 
Francis to join them there. Anxious to obtain from Louis certain privileges for 
the French part of his diocese, Francis readily consented, although he was in no 
state of health to risk the long winter journey. But he seems to have had a pre- 
monition that his end was not far off. Before quitting Annecy he put all his affairs 
in order, and took his leave as if he had no expectation of seeing people again. At 
Avignon he led as far as possible his usual austere life. But he was greatly sought 
after — crowds were eager to see him, and the different religious houses all wanted 
the saintly bishop to preach to them. On the return journey he stayed at Lyons, 
where he lodged in a gardener's cottage belonging to the convent of the Visitation. 
Here for a whole month, though sorely in need of rest, he spared himself no labour 

199 


January 29] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

for souls. Being asked one day by a nun to write down what virtue he specially 
wished them to cultivate, he wrote on a sheet of paper, in large letters, the one 
word " Humility ". In bitterly cold weather, through Advent and over Christmas, 
he continued his preaching and ministrations, refusing no demand upon his strength 
and time. On St John's day he was taken seriously ill with some sort of paralytic 
seizure. He recovered speech and consciousness, and endured with touching 
patience the torturing remedies used in the hope of prolonging his life, but which 
only hastened the end. After receiving the last sacraments he lay murmuring 
words from the Bible expressive of his humble and serene trust in God's mercy. 
He was heard to say, " Exspectans exspectavi Dominum et intendit mihi, et 
exaudivit pieces meas, et eduxit me de lacu miseriae et de luto faecis." — " With 
expectation I have waited for the Lord and He was attentive to me, and He heard 
my prayers and brought me out of the pit of misery and the filthy mire." At last 
clasping the hand of a loving attendant, he whispered, " Advesperascit et inclinata 
est jam dies." — " It is towards evening and the day is now far spent." The last 
word he was heard to utter was the name of " Jesus ". While those kneeling 
around his bed said the litany for the dying, and were invoking the Holy Innocents, 
whose feast it was, St Francis gently breathed his last, in the fifty-sixth year of 
his age. 

The beatification of St Francis de Sales in 1662 was the first solemn beatification 
to take place in St Peter's at Rome, where he was canonized three years later. His 
feast was fixed for January 29, the anniversary of the bringing of his body to the 
convent of the Visitation at Annecy. He was declared a doctor of the Church in 
1877, and Pope Pius XI named him the patron-saint of journalists. At the time 
of his death there was living in Paris a priest now known as St Vincent de Paul. 
To him Francis had entrusted the spiritual care of the first convent of the Visitation 
in Paris. St Vincent said of St Francis, " This servant of God conformed so well 
to the divine pattern that often I asked myself with amazement how a created being 
— given the frailty of human nature — could reach so high a degree of perfection. . . . 
Going over his words in my mind I have been filled with such admiration that I am 
moved to see in him the man who, of all others, has most faithfully reproduced the 
love of the Son of God on earth." 

Some people who thought St Francis de Sales too indulgent towards sinners 
one day spoke freely to him on the subject. The saint replied, " If there were 
anything more excellent than meekness, God would certainly have taught it us ; 
and yet there is nothing to which He so earnestly exhorts all, as to be ' meek and 
humble of heart \ Why would you hinder me from obeying the command of my 
Lord ? Can we really be better advised in these matters than God Himself ? " 
The tenderness of Francis was particularly displayed in his reception of apostates 
and other abandoned sinners. When these prodigals returned to him he used to 
say, speaking with all the tenderness of a father, " God and I will help you ; all 
I require of you is not to despair : I shall take on myself the burden of the rest." 
His affectionate care of them extended even to their bodily wants, and his purse 
was open to them as well as his heart. He justified this to some who, disedified at 
his indulgence, told him that it only encouraged the sinner and hardened him in 
his ways, by observing, " Are they not a part of my flock ? Has not our blessed 
Lord shed His blood for them ? These wolves will be changed into lambs ; a day 
will come when they will be more precious in the sight of God than we are. If 
Saul had been cast off, we should never have had St Paul." 

200 


ST GILD AS THE WISE [January 29 

An immense amount of material is available for the fuller study of the life of St Francis 
de Sales. A number of biographies were printed in the seventeenth century, two of them 
within a couple of years of his death. His own works, particularly his letters, form an 
almost inexhaustible mine of information. They should be consulted in the great edition 
of Annecy prepared by the Visitation nuns under the direction of the English Benedictine 
Dom Mackey, and later of Father Navatel and others. The Spirit of St Francis de Sales 
by Bishop Camus has had an immense popularity since its first appearance in 1641, and has 
been translated and abridged in many languages ; see also St Francis de Sales (1937), by 
M. Mueller. The most complete modern biographies are those by the Abbe Hamon (revised 
and supplemented edn. in 2 vols., 1909 ; English adaptation by Fr H. Burton in 2 vols., 
1926-29), and by Mgr W. G. Trochu (2 vols., 1941). There is a French study of St Francis 
as the " Doctor of Perfection " by Canon J. Leclercq (1948). There are several slighter 
works accessible to English readers, some original, like that of M. M. Maxwell Scott, St 
Francis de Sales and his Friends, others translated, like the short Life by de Margerie. Two 
Anglican writers have written well of the saint : H. Lr. Farrer (Mrs Lear) in her Life (1872), 
and E. K. Sanders (1928). 

ST SABINIAN, Martyr (Date Unknown) 

St Sabinian is commemorated in the Roman Mai tyro logy on this day, and he is 
also honoured in the diocese of Troyes as the first apostle and martyr of that city. 
Three sets of " acts ", none of them of any historical value, profess to record the 
history of his martyrdom. He is said to have been born in the island of Samos, 
to have been converted to Christianity by reading the Bible, to have travelled to 
Gaul to preach the gospel before he had even been baptized, to have received this 
sacrament without any human minister (a voice from heaven pronouncing the 
words), to have been arrested on account of the conversions he effected, to have 
been brought before the Emperor Aurelian whose threats he defied, and finally, 
after a series of miraculous incidents, in the course of which fire proved powerless 
to burn him or arrows to wound him, to have been decapitated by the sword of the 
executioner. There seems to be no ancient tradition of cultus, and we consequently 
cannot safely say more than that some martyr of that name may have suffered at 
Troyes in one of the early persecutions under the Romans. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 29 ; E. Defer, Vie des saints du diocese de Troyes, 
pp. 27-36 ; Analecta Bollandiana, vol. iv (1885), pp. 139-156. 

ST GILDAS THE WISE, Abbot (c. a.d. 570) 

This famous man seems to have been born about the year 500, in the lower valley 
of the Clyde. He must have travelled south at a somewhat early age, and we may 
reasonably trust the tradition which describes him as practising asceticism at 
Llanilltud. He was no doubt younger than either St Samson or St Paul Aurelian, 
but all three, either simultaneously or successively, lived under St Illtud, we are 
told. How long Gildas remained in Britain cannot be determined, but the terrible 
indictment of the scandalous lives of his contemporaries, both ecclesiastics and 
laymen, which he left in his De excidio Britanniae was written probably on British 
soil somewhere about the year 540. Severely as this work has been criticized as a 
mere jeremiad (even Bede calls it sermo flebilis, a pitiful tale) and as an often in- 
coherent patchwork of the most denunciatory texts to be found in both the Testa- 
ments, it should be remembered that there is no reason to suppose that the author's 
object was to write a history. On the contrary, he tells us himself that his main pur- 
pose was to make known " the miseries, the errors and the ruin of Britain ", and he 

201 


January 29] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

certainly manifests an acquaintance with Holy Scripture which must be deemed 
highly creditable in any writer during this period of barbarism ; nor was he 
ignorant of Vergil and St Ignatius of Antioch. Moreover, there can be no question 
that Gildas, in spite of his querulous tone, was animated by a real zeal for morality 
and religion. As a Welsh scholar of our own day has written : "A popular 
reverence has throughout the centuries clung to a few of the names that stand out 
before us in Britain and Brittany. We have many indications that these men, who 
knew the poor as well as the great, the * people ' in the Church no less than the 
bishops and priests who ruled it, had grasped the great fact of sin as the supreme 
evil for men and had ministered to the deepest need of their souls. Those who 
know the works of Gildas will best appreciate this." (Hugh Williams, Christianity 
in Early Britain, 1912, p. 366.) 

Little can be affirmed with confidence regarding the life of Gildas himself. We 
learn on what seems fair evidence of certain Irish ascetics, such as St Finnian of 
Clonard, who had sojourned in Britain for a while and become disciples of St Gildas. 
We are also told that he himself visited Ireland, and it appears that Gildas's reputa- 
tion as a scholar was such that he was consulted by distant ecclesiastics who wrote 
to him from there. He seems to have lived for a time on the island of Flatholm 
in the Bristol Channel, where he copied a missal for St Cadoc and perhaps wrote 
the De excidio. The last years of his life, however, were certainly spent in Brittany, 
where he lived for some time as a hermit on a tiny island near Rhuys, in Morbihan 
bay. Here disciples gathered around him, and in spite of his desire for solitude 
he does not seem to have cut himself off entirely from the world, for we hear of 
his travelling to other places in Brittany ; the visit to Ireland has been assigned to 
this period, though the fact is very doubtful. There has been much difference of 
opinion regarding the date of St Gildas's death. Some put it as early as 554, but 
the majority of recent critics incline to c. 570. 

The feast of St Gildas is observed in the diocese of Vannes but nowhere in 
Great Britain or Ireland, in spite of the fact that he was a prophetical figure cf real 
importance, perhaps the most prominent and respected teacher of his century in 
Celtic-speaking lands, and an important influence in the formation of Irish 
monasticism. 

The text of Gildas's De excidio Britanniae and of the Vita Gildae, by a monk of Rhuys, 
has been critically edited by T. Mommsen in MGH., Auctores antiquissimi, vol. xiii. See 
also Hugh Williams, op. cit., and his Gildas in the Cymmrodorion Record Series, 1901, 
where the vita is printed on pp. 317-389 ; LBS., vol. iii, pp. 81-130 ; J. Fonssagrives, St 
Gildas de Ruis (1908) ; J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism (193 1), pp. 146-166 and passim ; L. 
Gougaud, Christianity in Celtic Lands (1932), passim ; A. W. Wade-Evans, Welsh Christian 
Origins (1934), cap. xiii and passim , J. E. Lloyd, History of Wales (1939). vol- i. PP- i34 -I 43 ; 
and C. E. Stevens in the Eng. Hist. Rev., vol. lvi (1941), pp. 353-373. Polydore Vergil's 
edition of Gildas's writings (1525) was the first attempt made in England at a critical edition 
of an historical source. 

ST SULPICIUS "SEVERUS", Bishop of Bourges (a.d. 591) 

There seems no sufficient reason to believe that this prelate was really called 
Severus. St Gregory of Tours who gives an account of his appointment to the 
see of Bourges (584) in preference to other, simoniacal, candidates speaks of him 
with much respect and tells us of a provincial council which he convoked in Au- 
vergne. He also took part in the Council of Macon in 585. The name Severus 

202 


ST BARSIMAEUS [January 30 

may have attached itself to him to emphasize the distinction between him and a 
later Sulpicius of Bourges, who was surnamed " Pius ". It is, however, clearly 
the Sulpicius who died in 591 who is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology 
on this day, January 29. A good deal of confusion with the writer Sulpicius Severus 
is perceptible in the notices of the early martyrologists. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 29 ; and Duchesne, Fastes £piscopaux, vol. i, pp. 
28-29. Alban Butler honours the real Sulpicius Severus with the title Saint, but there 
seems no sufficient authority for this ; though the Bollandists refer to the ecclesiastical writer 
in their account of St Sulpicius, Bishop of Bourges, they point out that the temporary in- 
clusion of the former in the Reman Martyrology was due to a confusion. 


30 


• ST MARTINA, Virgin and Martyr (Date Unknown) 


IN the general calendar of the Western church this day is kept as the feast of 
St Martina, and accordingly her name stands first today in the Roman 
Martyrology ; and in the fuller notice which appears there on January 1, we 
are told that at Rome under the Emperor Alexander (Severus, 222-235) she was 
subjected to many kinds of torment and at length perished by the sword. Alban 
Butler informs us correctly that there was a chapel in Rome consecrated to her 
memory which was frequented with great devotion in the seventh century. We 
also may learn from him that her relics were discovered in a vault in the ruins of 
her old church, and translated in the year 1634 under Pope Urban VIII, who built 
a new church in her honour and himself composed the hymns used in her office in 
the Roman Breviary. He adds further that the city of Rome ranks her amongst 
its particular patrons. 

Despite these attestations, the very existence of St Martina remains doubtful. 
Though she is represented as suffering in the City itself, there is no early Roman 
tradition regarding her. The " acts " of her martyrdom are full of preposter- 
ous miracles — -for example, when she is wounded, milk flows from her body in 
place of blood — and are extravagant to the last degree. The one thing certain 
about them is that they bear the closest resemblance, as was long ago pointed 
out, both to those attributed to St Tatiana and those of St Prisca. Pio Franchi 
de' Cavalieri has shown with considerable probability that of these three sets, 
all apocryphal, those belonging to St Tatiana have formed the model for the 
others. 

See Pio Franchi de' Cavalieri in the Romische Quartalschrift, vol. xvii (1903), pp. 222-236, 
and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxiii (1904), pp. 344-345. The Acts of St Martina are 
printed by the Bollandists under January 1. Cf. also Marucchi, Le Forum Romain et le 
Palatin (1925), pp. 246-248. 

ST BARSIMAEUS, Bishop of Edessa (a.d. 250 ?) 

In the Roman Martyrology on this day we read : " At Edessa in Syria, the com- 
memoration of St Barsimaeus the Bishop, who after converting many gentiles to 
the faith and sending them to their crowns before him, followed them with the 
palm of martyrdom under Trajan." Alban Butler in his short notice tells us 
further that Barsimaeus was the third bishop of Edessa from St Thaddaeus, one 
of the seventy-two disciples, and also that the martyrdom took place at Edessa 

203 


January 30] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

under Lysias, when Trajan, having passed the Euphrates, made the conquest of 
Mesopotamia in 114. All this has been completely exploded by Rubens Duval in 
a study of the Syriac Acts of Sharbil and Barsamja, which he published in the 
Journal Asiatique for 1889. He shows that the narrative, while professing to 
embody the most authentic documents, is vitiated by irreconcilable anachronisms. 
Some data will only fit the years 106 and 1 12 in the reign of Trajan, who is expressly 
mentioned, others could only be verified in the pontificate of Pope Fabian (250), 
who is equally mentioned. Moreover, Barsamja, according to the acts, though 
sentenced, was not actually put to death, and since he was a successor of Palut who 
was consecrated by Serapion (c. 209), he certainly did not live in the second century. 
Duval further shows that the narrative seems to be based on the Acts of Habib (St 
Abibus), a fourth -century martyr, and that it is consequently possible that the whole 
narrative is a fiction. 

The Syriac acts were first printed by Cureton in his Ancient Syriac Documents, pp. 41-72, 
and subsequently by Bedjan. But see especially Rubens Duval in Journal Asiatique , 8th 
series, vol. xiv, pp. 40-58, and cf. ibid., vol. xviii (1891), pp. 384-386. 

ST BATHILDIS, Widow (a.d. 680) 

St Bathildis was an English girl, who at an early age was carried over into France 
and sold cheaply as a slave into the household of the mayor of the palace under 
King Clovis II. Here she attained a position of responsibility and attracted the 
notice of the king, who in 649 married her. She bore him three sons, who all 
successively wore the crown, Clotaire III, Childeric II and Thierry III. Clovis 
dying in 657, when the eldest was only five, Bathildis became regent and apparently 
showed herself very capable at a difficult time when Merovingian power was 
declining in the face of the Frankish aristocracy. She seconded the zeal of St 
Ouen, St Leger and other holy bishops, redeemed many captives, especially of her 
own people, and did all in her power to promote religion. She was a benefactress 
of many monasteries, including Saint-Denis, Saint-Martin at Tours and Saint- 
Medard at Soissons, founded the great abbey of Corbie, and endowed the truly 
royal nunnery of Chelles. 

To this last Bathildis herself retired about 665, which she is said to have long 
desired to do ; the notorious Ebroin and other nobles were apparently no less 
anxious to have her out of the way. We are told that she had no sooner taken the 
veil than she seemed to forget entirely her former dignity, and was only to be 
distinguished from the rest by her humility, serving them in the lowest offices, and 
obeying the abbess St Bertila as the last among the sisters. In the life of St Eligius, 
attributed, though unwarrantably, to St Ouen, many instances are mentioned of 
the veneration which St Bathildis felt for that holy prelate. Thus we learn that 
Eligius after his death, in a vision by night, ordered a certain courtier to reprove 
the queen for wearing jewels and costly apparel in her widowhood, though in so 
doing she had acted, not out of pride, but because she thought it due to her position 
whilst she was regent of the kingdom. Upon this admonition she laid them aside, 
distributed a part to the poor, and with the richest jewels made a beautiful cross, 
which she placed at the head of the tomb of St Eligius. During a long illness 
which preceded her death she suffered intense bodily pain which she bore resignedly, 
dying on January 30, 680. 

In the account of St Bathildis given by Alban Butler no mention is made of a 

204 


ST ADELELMUS, OR ALEAUME [January 30 

very serious charge brought against her by Eddius, the biographer of St Wilfrid, 
who calls her a cruel Jezebel and attributes to her the assassination of ten French 
bishops, among them the bishop of Lyons, whom he calls Dalfinus. That there 
is much confusion here is certain, because the name of the murdered bishop was 
Annemund, who was the brother of Count Dalfinus. Consequently, although 
Eddius has been copied by William of Malmesbury, and in part even by Bede, 
it is quite improbable, for a variety of reasons, that his information was in any way 
accurate. Such unprejudiced authorities as Bruno Krusch, Charles Plummer and 
the Dictionary of National Biography entirely exonerate St Bathildis in this matter, 
and Plummer suggests that there may have been some confusion between her and 
Queen Brunhilda who died long before, in 613. Butler in a footnote reports from 
Le Boeuf and others that " six nuns were cured of inveterate distempers, attended 
with frequent fits of convulsions, by touching the relics of St Bathildis, when her 
shrine was opened on July 13, 1631 ". 

The text of the Life of St Bathildis, which is a genuinely Merovingian document and was 
written by a contemporary, has been critically edited by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores 
Merov.y vol. ii, pp. 475-508. There are also frequent references to St Bathildis in the 
Vita S. Eligii, which, though not the work of St Ouen, may preserve some authentic materials, 
see MGH., Merov. } vol. iv, pp. 634-761. See further M. J. Couturier, Ste Bathilde, Reine 
des Francs (1909) ; E. Vacandard, Vie de St Ouen (1902), pp. 254-263 ; BHL., nn. 905-911 ; 
and CMH., pp. 68-69. 

ST ALDEGUNDIS, Virgin (a.d. 684) 

St Aldegundis was the daughter of Walbert and Bertilia, both venerated as saints, 
and was born in Hainault about 635. Refusing the marriage proposed by her 
parents she went to live near her sister St Waldeturdis ( Waudru), foundress of a 
convent at Mons. Then she retired to a hermitage, from which grew up the great 
double monastery of Maubeuge. We are told that .she was a disciple of St Amand 
and that she had a number of supernatural visions. St Aldegundis developed 
cancer of the breast, and she bore this agonizing malady — and the cauteries and 
incisions of the surgeons — with the greatest patience and trust in God till her death 
on January 30, 684. 

The Life of St Aldegund, or at least the more historical portion, has been critically edited 
by W. Levison in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi, pp. 79-90. He pronounces, on what 
seems quite satisfactory evidence, that the author is not, as the vita claims, a contemporary. 
On the other hand it cannot be later than the ninth century, for it is quoted by Rabanus 
Maurus. See also Van der Essen, Etude critique sur les saints merovingiens, pp. 219-231 ; 
and cf. the Acta Sanctorum for January 30. 

ST ADELELMUS, or ALEAUME, Abbot (c a.d. iioo) 

This holy Benedictine, a Frenchman by birth, after following a career of arms, 
was moved to undertake a pilgrimage to Rome. On his way he came under the 
influence of St Robert, abbot of the monastery of Chaise-Dieu, and determined 
to become a monk himself. He completed his pilgrimage, and then returned 
to Chaise-Dieu, where he took the religious habit, and may later on have been 
chosen abbot. However, at the instance of Constance of Burgundy, Queen of 
Castile, who had heard much of his holiness and miracles, he was induced to 
come to Burgos, where her husband eventually built a monastery for him. 
Adelelmus took an active part in the war against the Moors, and was credited 

205 


January 30] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

with many miracles, one of them in favour of Queen Edith, widow of St Edward 
the Confessor. 

We have a Latin life of St. Adelelmus written shortly after his death by a French monk 
Rodulph, who went to Burgos for the purpose of compiling it. It has been printed by 
Florez, Espana Sagrada, vol. xxvii, pp. 841-866 (and cf. pp. 154 seq.), and there is an abridge- 
ment which will be found in Mabillon, vol. vi, pt. 2, pp. 896-902. St Adelelmus's feast is 
kept in the diocese of Burgos, of which he is a patron ; his name in Spain is Lesmes. 

ST HYACINTHA MARISCOTTI, Virgin (ad. 1640) 

The story of St Hyacintha is in some respects almost unique among the records 
of holy lives. In the case of many saints we read at some stage of their career of a 
momentous change of purpose and practice, which they themselves describe as 
their " conversion ". Sometimes, as with St Augustine, this represents a turning 
to God from a life of sin in the world. Sometimes, as with St Teresa, the previous 
state was only reprehensible in contrast to the spiritual enlightenment which came 
later. Very rare is the case of one who, having pledged himself to a life of religious 
perfection, begins by being scandalously unfaithful to rule, is converted to better 
thoughts, relapses again, and so far recovers, in response to a new grace, as to 
attain in the end to the highest ideal of virtue. 

Clarice Mariscotti, born of a noble family at Vignarello, was educated in the 
Franciscan convent at Viterbo, where one of her sisters was already a nun. She 
is said in her childhood to have shown little inclination for piety, and when a 
marriage was arranged between her youngest sister and the Marquis Cassizucchi, 
she herself being passed over, her pique and morose ill-humour seem to have made 
her almost unendurable in the family circle. As a result they, according to the evil 
custom of the times, practically forced her to enter a convent. She went back to 
the Franciscans, a community of the third order regular, at Viterbo, where she 
became Sister Hyacintha (Giacinta) and was admitted in due course to profession. 
At the same time she let it be known that though she wore the habit of a nun she 
intended to claim every indulgence which she could secure for herself in virtue of 
her rank and the wealth of her family. For ten years she scandalized the com- 
munity by leading a life in which she confined herself without disguise to conformity 
with certain external observances, while disregarding altogether the spirit of the 
religious rule. At last, when she was suffering from some slight indisposition, a 
worthy Franciscan priest came to hear her confession in her cell, who, seeing the 
comforts she had accumulated around her, spoke to her severely on the subject of 
her tepidity and the danger she ran. Hyacintha seems to have taken the rebuke 
to heart and to have set about a reform with almost exaggerated fervour. This 
sudden conversion however showed every sign of breaking down, and she was 
beginning to slip back into the bad old ways, when God sent her a much more 
serious illness. This grace was effectual, and from that date she gave herself to a 
life in which cruel disciplines, constant fasts, deprivation of sleep and long hours 
of prayer all played their part. 

What was perhaps most remarkable in such a character as hers was the fact 
that, becoming in time mistress of novices, she seems to have shown the most 
healthy common sense in the guidance of others, restraining their devotional and 
penitential excesses and giving very practical advice to the many who wrote to seek 
her counsel. For example, when asked her opinion about someone unnamed who 

206 


BD SEBASTIAN VALFRE [January 30 

had a great reputation for union with God and a notable gift of tears, she replied : 
" First of all I should like to know how far she is detached from creatures, humble 
and free from self-will, even in good and holy things, and then I should be more 
ready to believe that the delight which she experiences in her devotions ccmes from 
God. The sort of people who most appeal to me are those who are despised, who 
are devoid of self-love and who have little sensible consolation. The cross, to 
suffer, to persevere bravely in spite of the lack of all sweetness and relish in prayer : 
this is the true sign of the spirit of God." Hyacintha's charity was also remarkable, 
and it was not limited to those of her own community. Through her influence 
two confraternities were established in Viterbo which devoted themselves to the 
relief of the sick, the aged, decayed gentry and the poor, Hyacintha herself helping 
largely to provide the necessary funds by her own begging. She died at the age 
of fifty-five, on January 30, 1640, and was canonized in 1807. The bull of canon- 
ization states that " her mortifications were such that the prolongation of her life 
was a continued miracle ", and also that " through her apostolate of charity she 
won more souls to God than many preachers of her time ". 

See Flaminio da Latera, Vita della V. S. Giacinta Mariscotti (1805) ; L£on, U Aureole 
seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. i, pp. 1 17-126 ; Kirchenlexikon, vol. vi, pp. 514-516. 

BD SEBASTIAN VALFRE (ad. 1710) 

Sebastian Valfre was born at Verduno in Piedmont in 1629. His parents were 
poor and had a large family to support. From his childhood he determined to 
become a priest, and all through his years of study he maintained himself by 
copying books, costing his father nothing. We are told that all his parents were 
ever able to give him was a cart-load of wine when he first left home. He was 
accepted by the Fathers of the Oratory at Turin, and joined the congregation on 
St Philip's day, 1651. He received the priesthood a year later, and for his parents' 
consolation offered his first Mass at Verduno. He gave himself up at once and 
unreservedly to his priestly duties, and it was noted that from the time of his joining 
it, the Turin Oratory, which had previously had much to contend with, began to 
make many friends and to prosper exceedingly. Sebastian's first office was that 
of prefect of the Little Oratory, a confraternity of laymen who meet together for 
devotional exercises. This charge he retained for many years with abundant fruit, 
and his wonderful gift for inspiring enthusiasm in the young seems to have led a 
little later to his being appointed master of novices. In 1661, almost immediately 
after he had reached the required age of forty years, he was elected superior in spite 
of his own earnest remonstrances. We are told that his government was a perfect 
copy of that of St Philip, enforcing exact observance in every detail, but showing 
great tenderness to the sick, for whom nothing was thought too good. 

During all this time Bd Sebastian's fame as a director of souls was constantly 
growing. He spent long hours in the confessional, being scrupulous in the regu- 
larity of his attendance, a matter upon which he laid much stress in his exhortations 
to his own community. All classes came to him, and he was prepared to bestow 
endless trouble on those whom he saw in need of help or earnest to make progress. 
On the other hand, aided probably by a supernatural insight, or by some strange 
telepathic faculty, he was ruthless in exposing insincerity and affectation. Amongst 
his penitents was the Duke Victor Amadeus II, afterwards king of Sardinia, who 
endeavoured in 1690, with Pope Alexander VIII's ready consent, to induce Father 

207 


January 31] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Sebastian to accept the archbishopric of Turin, but all to no purpose. He preached 
sometimes as many as three sermons in one Hay. He also went on long missionary 
expeditions in the surrounding country, penetrating occasionally into Switzerland, 
and wonderful were the conversions which followed. Besides this, much time was 
devoted to instructing the young and the ignorant. He gathered together the 
beggars who came to the Oratory for alms, and provided food for their souls as well 
as for their bodies. He was indefatigable in visiting hospitals and prisons, dis- 
playing, moreover, a special affection for soldiers, whose peculiar temptations he 
understood and compassionated. 

Like St Philip, Bd Sebastian was always cheerful, so that men judged him to be 
light-hearted and free from care. This was the more wonderful because we read 
a terrible story of his own spiritual desolation and interior trials. He was haunted 
by temptations to think that he was forsaken of God, that he had lost his faith, and 
that nothing but Hell awaited him ; yet all the while, even when he was close 
upon eighty, he never relaxed his apostolic work for souls, preaching out of doors 
in the bitter cold of January to any company of waifs and outcasts whom he could 
gather round him. We find him at times fearless in visiting even haunts of vice 
when he felt that God called him to interfere. Strange to say, his intervention on 
these rare occasions seems to have been wonderfully blessed, and the most brutal 
ruffians felt the power of his holiness, remaining abashed and dumbfounded when 
he denounced them in no measured terms. His life was, in fact, the model of that 
which ought to be led by a zealous pastor in a city where misery and evil abound, 
and it is in no way wonderful that he was regarded by all his contemporaries as a 
saint. Instances of his supernatural insight and of the fulfilment of his predictions 
were many. Amongst other such cases which are on record, it seems clear that he 
knew, some months beforehand, the time of his own death. This occurred on 
January 30, 1710, when he was close upon eighty-one years of age. He was 
beatified in 1834. 

See Lady Amabel Kerr, Life of Bd Sebastian Valfre (1896) ; G. Calleri, Vita del b. 
Sebastiano Valfre (Eng. trans., 1849) ; P. Capello, Vita del b. Sebastiano Valfre (2 vols., 
1872). 


31 


ST JOHN BOSCO, Founder of the Salesians of Don Bosco 
(a.d. 1888) 


IN his life the supernatural almost became the natural and the extraordinary 
ordinary." These were the words of Pope Pius XI in speaking of that great 
lover of children, Don Bosco. Born in 181 5, the youngest son of a peasant- 
farmer in a Piedmontese village, John Melchior Bosco lost his father at the age of 
two and was brought up by his mother, a saintly and industrious woman who had a 
hard struggle to keep the home together. A dream which he had when he was 
nine showed him the vocation from which he never swerved. It was the precursor 
of other visions which, at various critical periods of his life, indicated the next step 
he was to take. In this first dream he seemed to be surrounded by a crowd of 
fighting and blaspheming children whom he strove in vain to pacify, at first by 
argument and then with his fists. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious lady who 
said to him : " Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them ! Take your shepherd's 

208 


ST JOHN *BOSCO [January 31 

staff and lead them to pasture." As she spoke, the children were transformed into 
wild beasts and then into lambs. From that moment John recognized that his duty 
was to help poor boys, and he began with those of his own village, teaching them 
the catechism and bringing them to church. As an encouragement, he would often 
delight them with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very proficient. 
One Sunday morning, when a perambulating juggler and gymnast was detaining 
the youngsters with his performances, the little lad challenged him to a competition, 
beat him at his own job, and triumphantly bore off his audience to Mass. Whilst 
he was staying with an aunt who was servant to a priest, John had learnt to read 
and he ardently desired to become a priest, but he had many difficulties to over- 
come before he could enter on his studies. He was sixteen when he entered the 
seminary at Chieri and so poor that his maintenance money and his very clothes 
had to be provided by charity, the mayor contributing his hat, the parish priest 
his cloak, one parishioner his cassock, and another a pair of shoes. After his 
ordination to the diaconate he passed to the theological college of Turin and, 
during his residence there, he began, with the approbation of his superiors, to 
gather together on Sundays a number of the neglected apprentices and waifs of 
the city. 

His attention was confirmed in this field by St Joseph Cafasso, then rector of a 
parish church and the annexed sacerdotal institute in Turin. It was he who 
persuaded Don Bosco that he was not cut out to be a missionary abroad : " Go 
and unpack that trunk you've got ready, and carry on with your work for the boys. 
That, and nothing else, is God's will for you." Don Cafasso introduced him, on 
the one hand, to those moneyed people of the city who were in time to come to be 
the generous benefactors of his work, and on the other hand to the prisons and 
slums whence were to come the beneficiaries of that work. 

His first appointment was to the assistant chaplaincy of a refuge for girls founded 
by the Marchesa di Barola, the wealthy and philanthropic woman who had taken 
care of Silvio Pellico after his release. This post left him free on Sunday to look 
after his boys, to whom he devoted the whole day and for whom he devised a sort 
of combined Sunday-school and recreation centre which he called a " festive 
oratory ". Permission to meet on premises belonging to the marchesa was soon 
withdrawn because the lads were noisy and some of them picked the flowers, and 
for over a year they were sent from pillar to post — no landlord being willing to put 
up with the lively band, which had increased to several hundred. When at last 
Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed and all seemed promising, the marchesa, 
who with all her generosity was somewhat of an autocrat, delivered an ultimatum 
offering him the alternative of giving up the boys or resigning his post at her refuge. 
He chose the latter. 

In the midst of his anxiety, the holy man was prostrated by a severe attack of 
pneumonia with complications which nearly cost him his life. He had hardly 
recovered when he went to live in some miserable rooms adjoining his new oratory, 
and with his mother installed as his housekeeper he applied himself to consolidating 
and extending his work. A night-school started the previous year took permanent 
shape, and as the oratory was overcrowded, he opened two more centres in other 
quarters of Turin. It was about this time that he began to take in and house a few 
destitute children. In a short time some thirty or forty neglected boys, most of 
them apprentices in the city, were living with Don Bosco and his devoted mother, 
" Mamma Margaret ", in the Valdocco quarter, going out daily to work. He soon 

209 


January 31] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

realized that any good he could do them was counterbalanced by outside influences, 
and he eventually determined to train the apprentices at home. He opened his 
first two workshops, for shoemakers and tailors, in 1853. 

The next step was to construct for his flock a church, which he placed under the 
patronage of his favourite saint, Francis de Sales, and when that was finished he 
set to work to build a home for his increasing family. The money came — miracu- 
lously as it often seemed. The boys were of two sorts : little would-be appren- 
tices, and those in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers and possible vocations 
to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more help became 
available, technical courses and grammar classes were started in the house and all 
were taught at home. By 1856 there were 150 resident boys, with four workshops 
including a printing-press, and also four Latin classes, with ten young priests, 
besides the oratories with their 500 children. Owing to his intense sympathy and 
marvellous power of reading their thoughts, Don Bosco exercised an unbounded 
influence over his boys, whom he was able to rule with an apparent indulgence and 
absence of punishment which rather scandalized the educationists of his day. Over 
and above all this work, he was in constant request as a preacher, his fame for 
eloquence being enhanced by the numerous miracles — mostly of healing — which 
were wrought through his intercession. A third form of activity which he pursued 
for years was the writing of popular books, for he was as strongly convinced of the 
power of the press as any member of the Catholic Truth Society. Now it would 
be a work in defence of the faith, now a history or other lesson book, now one of a 
series of Catholic readings which would occupy him for half the night, until failing 
sight in later life compelled him to lay down his pen. 

For years St John Bosco's great problem was that of help. Enthusiastic young 
priests would offer their services, but sooner or later would give up, because they 
could not master Don Bosco's methods or had not his patience with often vicious 
young ruffians or were put off by his scheme for schools and workshops when he 
had not a penny. Some even were disappointed because he would not turn the 
oratory into a political club in the interests of " Young Italy ". By 1850 he had 
only one assistant left, and he resolved to train young men himself for the work. 
(It was. in consequence of this that St Dominic Savio came to the oratory in 1854.) 
In any case something in the nature of a religious order had long been in his mind 
and, after several disappointments, the time came when he felt that he had at last 
the nucleus he desired. " On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in 
Don Bosco's room," writes one of those present. " Besides Don Bosco there were 
Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we 
should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbours. 
At the close of that period we might bind ourselves by a promise, which could 
subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian 
v/as given to all who embarked upon that form of apostolate." The name, of 
course, came from the great Bishop of Geneva. It seemed a most unpropitious 
moment for launching a new congregation, for in all its history Piedmont had never 
been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Ladies of the Sacred Heart had been 
expelled, many convents had been suppressed, and law after law was passed cur- 
tailing the rights of the religious orders. Nevertheless it was the statesman 
Rattazzi, one of the ministers most responsible for that legislation, who, meeting 
Don Bosco one day, urged him to found a society to carry on his valuable work, 
promising him the support of the king. 

210 


ST JOHN BOSCO [January 31 

In December 1859, with twenty-two companions, he finally determined to 
proceed with the organization of a religious congregation, whose rules had received 
the general approval of Pope Pius IX ; but it was not until fifteen years later that 
the constitutions received their final approbation, with leave to present candidates 
for holy orders. The new society grew apace : in 1863 there were 39 Salesians, at 
the founder's death 768, and today they are numbered by thousands, all over the 
world. One of Don Bosco's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries 
to Patagonia, and others soon spread over South America. He lived to see twenty- 
six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old. Today 
Salesian establishments include schools from the primary grade to colleges and 
seminaries, adult schools, technical schools, agricultural schools, printing and 
bookbinding shops, hospitals, to say nothing of foreign missions and pastoral 
work. 

His next great work was the foundation of an order of women to do for poor 
girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. This was inaugurated in 1872 with 
the clothing of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters 
of Our Lady, Help of Christians. This community increased almost as fast as the 
other, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil and the Argentine, and other activi- 
ties. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Don Bosco organized 
his numerous outside helpers into a new sort of third order to which he attached 
the up-to-date title of Salesian Co-operators. These were men and women of all 
classes, pledged to assist in some way the educational labours of the Salesians. 

The dream or vision previously referred to struck the note for all Don Bosco's 
dealings with boys. It is a platitude that to do anything with them you must have 
a liking for them ; but the love must also be seen. It radiated from Don Bosco, 
and incidentally helped to form his ideas about punishment at a time when the 
crudest superstitions on that subject were still almost unquestioned. Fostering 
of a sense of personal responsibility, removal of occasions of disobedience, appre- 
ciation of effort, friendliness : these were his methods. In 1877 he wrote, " I do 
not remember ever to have used formal punishment. By God's grace I have 
always been able to get not only observance of rules but even of my bare wishes." 
There went with that an acute awareness of the harm done by misdirected kindness, 
as he was not slow to point out to parents. One of the pleasantest pictures that 
St John Bosco's name conjures up is those Sunday excursions into the country with 
a gang of boys, when he would celebrate Mass in the village church, then breakfast 
and games out-of-doors, a catechism lesson, and the singing of Vespers to end up — 
Don Bosco was a firm believer in the civilizing and spiritualizing effects of good 
music. 

Any account of Don Bosco's life would be incomplete without some mention 
of his work as a church-builder. His first little church soon proving insufficient 
for its increasing congregation, the founder proceeded to the construction of a much 
larger one which was completed in 1868. This was followed by another spacious 
and much-needed basilica in a poor quarter of Turin, which he placed under the 
patronage of St John the Evangelist. The effort to raise the necessary money had 
been immense, and the holy man was out of health and very weary, but his labours 
were not yet over. During the last years of Pius IX, the project had been formed 
of building in Rome a church in honour of the Sacred Heart, and Pius had given 
the money to buy the site. His successor was equally anxious for the work to 
proceed, but it seemed impossible to obtain funds to raise it above the foundations. 

211 


January 31] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

" What a pity it is that we can make no headway," remarked the pope after a 
consistory. " The glory of God, the honour of the Holy See and the spiritual good 
of so many are involved in the undertaking. I can see no way out of the difficulty." 

" I could suggest one ", said Cardinal Alimonda. 

" And what might that be ? " 

" Hand it over to Don Bosco : he could do it." 

" But would he accept ? " 

" I know him : a wish expressed by your Holiness would be honoured as a 
command." 

The task was accordingly proposed to him and he undertook it. 

When he could obtain no more funds from Italy he betook himself to France, 
the land where devotion to the Sacred Heart has always flourished pre-eminently. 
Everywhere he was acclaimed as a saint and a wonder-worker, and the money came 
pouring in. The completion of the new church was assured, but, as the time for 
the consecration approached, Don Bosco was sometimes heard to say that if it were 
long delayed he would not be alive to witness it. It took place on May 14, 1887, 
and he offered Mass in the church once shortly after ; but as the year drew on it 
became evident that his days were numbered. Two years earlier the doctors had 
declared that he had worn himself out and that complete rest was his only chance, 
but rest for him was out of the question. At the end of the year his strength gave 
way altogether, and he became gradually weaker until at last he passed away on 
January 31, 1888, so early in the morning that his death has been described, not 
quite correctly, as occurring on the morrow of the feast of St Francis de Sales. 
Forty thousand persons visited his body as it lay in the church, and his funeral 
resembled a triumph, for the whole city of Turin turned out to do him honour when 
his mortal remains were borne to their last resting-place. St John Bosco was 
canonized in 1934. 

A full biography of Don Bosco in Italian, by G. B. Lemoyne, has had an enormous sale, 
but the standard life is that by A. Auffray (1929). Biographies and studies are numerous in 
many languages. Among the more recent in French are those by D. Lathoud (1938), F. 
Veuillot (1943), and P. Cras's Fidele histoire de St Jean Bosco (1936), and such shorter works 
in English as H. Gheon's Spirit of St John Bosco and those of F. A. Forbes and Fr H. L. 
Hughes. St John Bosco's Early Apostolate (1934), by Fr G. Bonetti, is an exhaustive study 
of the first quarter-century of the saint's priesthood. A new English edition of Auffray's 
work is in preparation. 

SS. CYRUS AND JOHN, Martyrs (c. a.d. 303) 

Cyrus, a physician of Alexandria, who by the opportunities which his profession 
gave him had converted many persons to the faith, and John, an Arabian, hearing 
that a lady called Athanasia and her three daughters, of whom the eldest was only 
fifteen, were suffering grievous torment for the name of Christ at Canopus in Egypt, 
went thither to encourage them. They were apprehended themselves, and cruelly 
beaten : their sides being burnt with torches, while salt and vinegar were poured 
into their wounds in the presence of Athanasia and her daughters, who were also 
tortured after them. At length the four women, and a few days after, Cyrus and 
John, were beheaded, the two latter on this day. The Syrians, Egyptians, Greeks 
and Latins all venerate their memory. 

Concerning these saints who, like SS. Cosmas and Damian, were specially 
honoured among the Greeks as dvdpyvpoi. (physicians who took no fees), there is 

212 


ST MARCELLA [January 31 

a fairly abundant literature. Of special interest are three short discourses of St 
Cyril of Alexandria, and a panegyric and relation of miracles by St Sophronius, 
Patriarch of Jerusalem (fl. 638). In these last, strong traces are said to be found 
of practices resembling the incubation familiar in the temples of Aesculapius. A 
certain authority accrues to the writings of Sophronius, who had himself been 
healed at the shrine of these martyrs, by the citation of extracts from them in the 
proceedings of the second Council of Nicaea in 787. From St Cyril we learn 
the interesting fact that when at Menuthi in Egypt, at the beginning of the fifth 
century, superstitious rites were still observed by the populace in honour of 
Isis, St Cyril could think of no better plan for counteracting the mischief 
than by translating thither a great part of the relics of SS. Cyrus and John. At 
Menuthi, consequently, a great shrine grew up which became a famous place of 
pilgrimage. The spot is now known as Abukir, well remembered from Nelson's 
great naval victory in 1798 and the landing of Sir Ralph Abercrombie in 1801. 
Abukir is simply y Afif3d Kvpos, Abbacyrus, from the name of the first of the two 
saints. Strangely enough, outside Rome is a little church known as Santa 
Passera, which represents another transformation of the same name : Abbaciro, 
Pacero, Passera. 

See P. Sinthern in the Romische Quartalschrift, vol. xxii (1908), pp. 196-239 ; H. Delehaye 
in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxx (191 1), pp. 448-450, and Legends of the Saints (1907), 
pp. 152 seq. ; P. Peeters in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxv (1906), pp. 233-240 ; and BHG., 
PP- 33~34- St Cyril's discourses are in Migne, PG., vol. lxxxvii, c. 1110 ; and St Soph- 
ronius 's relation in the same, cc. 33-79. 

ST MARCELLA, Widow (a.d. 410) 

St Marcella is styled by St Jerome the glory of the Roman ladies. Having lost 
her husband in the seventh month of her marriage, she rejected the suit of Cerealis 
the consul, and resolved to imitate the lives of the ascetics of the East. She 
abstained from wine and flesh, employed her time in reading, prayer and visiting 
the churches of the martyrs, and never spoke with any man alone. Her example 
was followed by other women of noble birth who put themselves under her direc- 
tion, and Rome witnessed the formation of several such communities in a short 
time. We have sixteen letters of St Jerome to her in answer to her questions on 
religious matters, but she was by no means content simply to " sit at his feet " : 
she examined his arguments closely and rebuked him for his hasty temper. When 
the Goths plundered Rome in 410 they maltreated St Marcella to make her disclose 
her supposed treasures, which in fact she had long before distributed among the 
poor. She trembled only for her dear pupil Principia (not her daughter, as some 
have erroneously supposed), and falling at the feet of the soldiers she begged that 
they would offer her no insult. God moved them to compassion : they conducted 
them both to the church of St Paul, to which Alaric had granted the right of 
sanctuary. St Marcella survived this but a short time, and died in the arms of 
Principia about the end of August in 410 ; her memory is honoured on this day in 
the Roman Marty ro logy. 

All that we know of St Marcella is practically speaking derived from the letters of St 
Jerome, especially from letter 127 entitled " Ad Principiam virginem, sive Marcellae viduae 
epitaphium " (Migne, PL., vol. xxii, cc. 1087 seq.). See also Grutzmacher, Hieronymus ; 
eine biographische Studie, vol. i, pp. 225 seq. ; vol. ii, pp. 173 seq. ; vol. iii, pp. 195 seq. ; 
Cavallera, Saint jferSme (2 vols., 1922) ; and DCB, vol. iii, p. 803. 

213 


January 31] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST AIDAN, or MAEDOC, OF FERNS, Bishop (a.d. 626) 

Already in the twelfth century we find Giraldus Cambrensis speaking of " Aidanus 
qui et Hybernice Maidancus (dicitur) ", i.e. " Aidan who in Irish is called 
Maidauc." In point of fact, surprising as it may appear, these and other forms, 
such as Aidus, Aiduus, Maedhog, Mogue, etc., not only denote the same individual 
but are all variants of the same name. To Aed (which seems originally to have 
meant fire) a suffix is added, and it appears in Latin as Aidanus ; whereas by pre- 
fixing the endearing particle Mo, and adding the suffix 6c we get in full accord 
with Irish " hypocoristic " tendencies, Mo-aed-6c = Maedoc. 

As in the case of nearly all other Irish saints of the early period, the life of St 
Maedoc is overlaid with legendary accretions, and any attempt to arrive at an 
accurate chronology is out of the question. By his parentage he seems to have 
belonged to Connaught, and we have wonderful stories concerning the portents 
which attended his birth and the miracles of his early years, as, for example, that a 
stag hunted by dogs took refuge with him when Maedoc was studying, but the saint 
rendered the poor beast invisible and the hounds retired baffled. After that we 
are told how he passed through Leinster and " desirous of studying the Holy 
Scriptures, sailed over sea to the country of the Britons, and reading these at the 
monastery of St David he remained a long time and performed many miracles at 
that place ". We are told that he took with him a carload of beer, having no doubt 
heard of the teetotal habits of the Mynyw monks. Being rebuked once by St 
David he prostrated himself upon the sea-shore waiting until the word " rise " 
should be spoken. David forgot, and the tide came in ; but the good youth was 
not drowned, for the waters were built up all around him like a wall. A curious 
reminiscence of the deadly strife between Saxons and Britons which marked 
the sixth century is preserved in several passages, as for example when we read 
that " as long as the holy youth Aidan dwelt in the districts of the Britons with St 
David, the Saxons dared not come thither " ; and again that when a raiding 
party of Saxons did come, Aidan by his curse blinded them all, " and with- 
out hurting anyone or killing, the Saxons returned back and were blind through 
the whole year." 

In due course St Maedoc returned to Ireland where, receiving a grant of land 
from King Brandubh, he built a monastery at Ferns in County Wexford. He was 
eventually consecrated bishop there. The record, however, preserved in the lives, 
both Latin and Irish, is little more than a long concatenation of miracles, some of 
them very bizarre. They leave a general impression of kindliness and charity, 
as for example when we read that one day the cook came to the saint and said 
" We have only a small jug of milk and a little butter left ; ought I to give 
it to the strangers who ask hospitality ? " " Give to everyone generously ", 
he was told, " as if you had all the mountain pastures to furnish supplies." 
But nevertheless that evening there was abundance for all the community. St 
Maedoc, under the form of his name Aidan or Edan, has a feast throughout 
Ireland today. His bell and shrine, with its satchel, are shown in the National 
Museum in Dublin. 

The principal Latin sources for the history of St Maedoc have been published by Dr 
C. Plummer in VSH., vol. ii, pp. 142-163 and 295-311 {cf. also preface, lxxv-lxxvii), and 
the Irish Lives in Bethada Ndem n£renn {1922), vol. i, pp. 183-290 (and cf. preface, xxxiii- 
xxxvii). See also Acta Sanctorum for Jannary 31 ; and LIS., vol. i. 

214 


ST EUSEBIUS [January 31 

ST ADAMNAN OF COLDINGHAM (c. a.d. 680) 

The monastery of Coldingham, on the coast of Berwick, was a double one, for both 
men and women, and among its monks was an Irishman named Adamnan (Eiman), 
who lived a life of great austerity. One day, returning from a walk with one of his 
brethren, they stopped to look at the group of monastic buildings, and Adamnan 
suddenly burst into tears. Turning to his companion he said : " The time is 
approaching when a fire shall consume all the buildings that we see." The other 
monk reported this prediction to the abbess, St Ebba, " the mother of the con- 
gregation ", and she naturally questioned Adamnan closely about it, with the result 
that is related in the account of Ebba herein (August 25). There seems to have 
been no liturgical cultus of Adamnan of Coldingham. 

This St Adamnan is, of course, an entirely different person from St Adamnan of Iona. 
All we know of him comes from Bede, Ecclesiastical History, bk iv, ch. 23. See Plummer's 
edition and notes, together with KSS., p. 264, and the Bollandists {Acta Sanctorum, Jan., 
vol. iii). 

ST ULPHIA, Virgin (c. a.d. 750) 

The feast of St Ulphia, whose name is written in many forms (Wulfe, Olfe, etc.), 
is kept in the diocese of Amiens. The late medieval biography we possess of her 
is of little historical value, but it is no doubt true that she led the life of a solitary 
under the direction of the aged hermit St Domitius. According to the legend, they 
both dwelt at no great distance from the church of our Lady, on the site of the 
present Saint-Acheul. Domitius in passing used to awaken Ulphia by knocking 
with his stick so that she might follow him to the offices in the church. On one 
occasion the frogs had croaked so loud during the greater part of the night that 
Ulphia had had no sleep, and the knocking failed to wake her. She accordingly 
forbade them to croak again, and we are assured that in that locality they are silent 
even to this day. After the death of Domitius, St Ulphia was joined by a disciple 
named Aurea, and a community was formed at Amiens under her guidance ; but 
she eventually returned to her solitude, and it was only in 1279, some hundreds of 
years after her death, that her remains were translated to Amiens cathedral. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 31 ; and Corblet, Hagiographie du diocese d' Amiens 
(1869). 

ST EUSEBIUS, Martyr (a.d. 884) 

In spite of his name this St Eusebius, we are told, was an Irishman who left his 
country like so many other peregrini, and eventually took the monastic habit in 
the famous abbey of Saint-Gall in Switzerland. He did not, however, remain 
there, but was permitted to go apart to lead the life of a hermit in the solitude of 
Mount St Victor near Rottris, in the Vorarlberg. After some thirty years it 
happened that when he, one day, denounced the godless lives of some of the 
neighbouring peasantry, one of them struck him with a scythe and killed him. A 
" monasterium Scottorum " (monastery for the Irish) was erected there by Charles 
the Fat at about the same date. 

See the Acta Sanctorum for January 31 ; MGH., Scriptores, vol. ii, p. 73 ; and L. 
Gougaud, Gaelic Pioneers of Christianity (1923), pp. 11, 82, 90. 

215 


January 31] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST NICETAS, Bishop of Novgorod (a.d. 1107) 

Nicetas (Nikita), a native of Kiev, while still a young man became a monk in the 
monastery of the Caves there and conceived the ambition of becoming a solitary. 
In spite of the contrary advice of the abbot and other experienced monks he insisted 
on shutting himself away. Whereupon he was subjected to a remarkable tempta- 
tion. An evil spirit of angelic appearance suggested that he should give himself 
to reading instead of prayer. The first book to which Nicetas devoted himself 
was the Old Testament : he learned much of it by heart and received preternatural 
insight, so that people came to the monastery to consult him. The older monks 
warned him of what would come of studying only Jewish books : he came to dislike 
the New Testament, and would neither read it nor hear it read. But the prayers 
of his brethren at last brought him to his senses, he lost his deceptive wisdom, and 
humbly began his monastic life all over again, becoming a model for the whole 
community. 

In 1095 Nicetas was made bishop of Novgorod, and in that charge his holiness 
was manifested by miracles : he was said to have put out a great fire by his prayers 
and to have obtained rain in time of drought. He was bishop for twelve years 
before he died, and about four hundred and fifty years later his relics were translated 
to the cathedral of the Holy Wisdom at Kiev. In the Russian use of the Byzantine 
Mass, St Nicetas of Novgorod is commemorated at the preparation of the holy 
things. 

See Martynov's Annus ecclesiasticus graeco-slavicus in Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. xi. 
For other examples of dissuasion from the solitary life and of the significance of the Old 
Testament in early Russian Christianity, see Fedotov, The Russian Religious Mind (1946). 

BD PAULA GAMBARA-COSTA, Matron (a.d. 15 15) 

This holy Franciscan tertiary, the example of whose married life stands out in 
acute contrast to the laxity of the age in which she lived, was born near Brescia in 
1473. Strange and quite incredible things were afterwards related of the piety 
shown by her in early childhood, when, for example, she is said as an infant at the 
breast to have displayed her sympathy for the law of the Church by a marked 
abstemiousness on Fridays. She was married at the age of twelve to a young 
nobleman, Lodovicantonio Costa, after all the formalities customary at that period 
had been duly observed. The famous Franciscan, Bd Angelo of Chiavasso, was 
called into consultation, and in spite of the little maid's reluctance he formally 
pronounced that " the Lord had called His servant to the married state ", and 
wedded she accordingly was, with a splendour suited to the high rank of both 
families, even the wheels of the coaches, we are told, being gilded. One authentic 
document is a copy of the rule of life which the bride seems to have submitted to 
Bd Angelo when she first settled down in her husband's home. She was to rise 
every morning at day-break and say her morning prayers and rosary. A little later 
she was to visit the Franciscan church in the neighbourhood, and assist at two 
Masses. In the afternoon she was to recite the office of our Lady and before she 
went to bed she said another rosary and her night prayers. There were also two 
periods of spiritual reading. She was to fast on all vigils of our Lady and a number 
of other vigils, and to go to confession once a fortnight. But the most illuminative 
clause is the following : "I will always obey my husband, and take a kindly view 

216 


ST FRANCIS XAVIER BIANCHI [ January 31 

of his failings, and I will do all I can to prevent their coming to the knowledge of 
anyone." Her eldest son was born in 1488, she herself being then barely fifteen. 

It was not long, however, before the young wife found that sad troubles were 
in store for her. It seems to have been her incorrigible habit of giving lavishly 
to the poor which first awakened her husband's resentment. As long as food was 
plentiful this did not so much matter, but in seasons of scarcity — and we hear of 
many such about this time — beggars swarmed and the worldly-wise hoarded all 
that their barns contained. It is true that Paula's biographers declare that in her 
case grain, oil and wine were supernaturally multiplied in proportion to the gener- 
osity of her alms, so that her household was not the poorer but actually the richer 
for her charities. We must confess, however, that the evidence is open to some 
suspicion. For example, there is told of Paula a story which is the exact counter- 
part of a well-known incident in the life of St Elizabeth of Hungary, viz. that going 
out one day with her apron full of loaves Paula met her husband, who rudely forced 
her to show him what she carried, whereupon he found, in that winter season, a 
great heap of rose blossoms. If this miracle really happened to as many saints as 
it is attributed to, it must have been of rather frequent occurrence. 

What was quite unpardonable was Lodovicantonio's introduction into his home 
of a young woman of bad character, who poisoned his mind against his wife, served 
him as a spy, and became the actual mistress of the household. After inflicting 
incredible humiliation upon his wife, this young woman fell ill and died very soon 
afterwards, having been devotedly nursed by Paula, who brought a priest to her 
and obtained for her the grace of conversion. It is a curious illustration of the 
social life of that period, the age of the Borgias, that Paula was accused of poisoning 
her rival because the body was found much swollen and the illness had terminated 
more quickly than was expected. In the end, however, Paula, by her unalterable 
patience and charity, regained her husband's affection. He himself turned 
sincerely to God and allowed his wife to practise her devotions and to exercise 
charity as she pleased. Apart from other austerities she used to rise in the night 
to pray, kneeling without support with hands uplifted in the middle of the room ; 
more than once in the cold of winter she was found unconscious upon the floor, 
stiff and almost frozen to death. Many stories are told of her charities, as, for 
example, that meeting a beggar-woman in the road who had no shoes, she gave her 
those she was wearing, and herself returned to the castle bare-foot. We cannot 
be surprised that Bd Paula died in her forty-second year, on January 24, 15 15. 
Her cult was confirmed in 1845. 

See R. Bollano, Vita . . . della B. Paola Gambara-Costa (1765) ; L£on, Aureole 
Seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. i, pp. 534-536. 

ST FRANCIS XAVIER BIANCHI (a.d. 1815) 

St Francis Bianchi was born in 1743 at Arpino, in what was then the kingdom of 
the Two Sicilies, and was educated as an ecclesiastical student at Naples, receiving 
the tonsure when he was only fourteen. His father, however, would not hear of 
his entering a religious order, and the boy had to pass through a period of great 
mental anguish in the conflict between duty to his parents and what seemed the 
call of God. Taking counsel at last with St Alphonsus Liguori, to whom he found 
access during one of the saint's missions, Francis became sure of his vocation, and 
overcoming all opposition he entered the Congregation of Clerks Regular of St 

217 


January 31] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

Paul, commonly called Barnabites. In consequence probably of the ordeal through 
which he had passed, he then fell seriously ill and suffered acutely for three years, 
but he recovered eventually, and was able to make great progress in his studies, 
distinguishing himself particularly in literature and science. He was ordained 
priest in 1767, and the trust which his superiors reposed in his virtue and practical 
ability was shown not only by his being deputed to hear confessions at an early age, 
a rare concession in Italy, but also by his appointment as superior to two different 
colleges simultaneously, a charge which he held for fifteen years. 

Many important offices were conferred upon him in the order, but his soul 
seems to have felt more and more the call to detach himself from external things, 
and to devote all his energies to prayer and the work of the ministry. He began 
to lead an extremely mortified and austere life, spending also long hours in the 
confessional, where his advice was sought by thousands. His health suffered, and 
his infirmities became so great that he could hardly drag himself from place to place ; 
nevertheless he persisted, and his unflinching resolution in placing himself at the 
service of all who needed his help seems to have lent a wonderful efficacy to his 
words and his prayers, so that he was universally regarded as a saint. At the time 
when the religious orders were dispersed and driven from their houses in Naples, 
Father Bianchi was in a most pitiable condition. His legs were terribly swollen 
and covered with sores, and he had to be carried to the altar. Some advantage, 
however, came to him from his very afflictions, for he was allowed to retain his 
habit and remain in the college where, all alone, he lived a life of the strictest 
religious observance. 

There are many stories of his miraculous and prophetic powers. Two very 
remarkable cases of the multiplication of inadequate sums of money put aside in a 
drawer to meet a debt were recounted in the process of beatification, and it was also 
affirmed that in 1805, when Vesuvius was in eruption, Father Bianchi, at the earnest 
petition of his fellow townsfolk, had himself carried to the edge of the lava stream, 
and blessed it, with the result that the flow was stayed. Towards the end of his 
days the veneration he inspired in Naples was unbounded. " There may have 
been a Neri (black) in Rome ", the people said, " but we have our Bianchi (white) 
who is just as wonderful." Many years previously, a penitent of his, now known 
as St Mary Frances of Naples, who went to God in 1791, had promised Father 
Bianchi that she would appear to him three days before his death. The good 
priest was convinced that she would keep her word, and we are told that this visit 
actually took place three days before January 31, 1815, when he breathed his last. 
He was canonized in 195 1. 

See P. Rudoni, Virtu e meraviglie del ven. Francesco S. M. Bianchi (1823) ; C. Kempf, 
The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century (191 6), pp. 96-97 ; Analecta Ecclesiastica, 
1893. PP- 54 seq. 


218 


ts^nnnnnrm 



FEBRUARY 



1 


• ST IGNATIUS, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr (c a.d. 107) 


ST IGNATIUS, surnamed Theophorus or God-bearer, was probably a 
convert and a disciple of St John the Evangelist, but we know little that 
is reliable concerning his earlier history. According to some early writers 
the apostles St Peter and St Paul directed that he should succeed St Evodius as 
bishop of Antioch, an office which he retained for forty years, proving himself in 
every way an exemplary pastor. He is said by the church historian Socrates to 
have introduced or popularized antiphonal singing in his diocese, but this is hardly 
probable. The peace for Christians which followed the death of Domitian only 
lasted for the fifteen months of Nerva's reign and persecution was resumed under 
Trajan. In an interesting letter from the emperor to the younger Pliny, the 
governor of Bithynia, the principle was laid down that Christians should be put 
to death if formally delated, but that they should not be sought out otherwise. 
Although Trajan was a magnanimous and humane man, yet the very gratitude which 
he felt that he owed his gods for his victories over the Dacians and the Scythians 
led him subsequently to persecute Christians for refusing to acknowledge these 
divinities. No reliance can unfortunately be placed in the account which legend 
has bequeathed us of the arrest of Ignatius and his personal interview with the 
emperor ; but from an early period it was believed that Trajan cross-questioned 
the soldier of Christ in such terms as these : 

" Who are you, spirit of evil, who dare to disobey my orders and who goad 
others on to their destruction ? " 

" No one calls Theophorus spirit of evil," the saint is said to have replied. 

" Who is Theophorus ? " 

" He who bears Christ within him." 

" And do not we bear within ourselves those gods who help us against our 
enemies ? " asked the emperor. 

" You are mistaken when you call gods those who are no better than devils," 
retorted Ignatius. " For there is only one God who made heaven and earth and 
all that is in them : and one Jesus Christ into whose kingdom I earnestly desire to 
be admitted." 

Trajan inquired, " Do you mean Him who was crucified under Pontius Pilate ? " 

" Yes, the same who by His death has crucified both sin and its author, and has 
proclaimed that every malice of the devil should be trodden under foot by those 
who bear Him in their hearts." 

" Do you then carry about Christ within you ? " said the emperor. Ignatius 
answered, " Yes, for it is written, ' I will dwell in them and will walk with them.' " 

When Trajan gave sentence that the bishop should be bound and taken to Rome 
to be devoured by the wild beasts for the entertainment of the people, the saint 

219 


February i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

exclaimed, " I thank thee, O Lord, for putting within my reach this pledge of 
perfect love for thee, and for allowing me to be bound for thy sake with chains, 
after the example of thy apostle Paul." 

Having prayed for the Church and commended it with tears to God, he joyfully 
submitted his limbs to the fetters and was hurried away by the soldiers to be taken 
to Rome. 

At Seleucia, a seaport about sixteen miles from Antioch, they boarded a ship 
which, for some reason unknown to us, was to coast along the southern and western 
shores of Asia Minor, instead of proceeding at once to Italy. Some of his Christian 
friends from Antioch took the short route and, reaching Rome before him, awaited 
his arrival there. St Ignatius was accompanied for most of the way by a deacon 
called Philo and by Agathopus, who are supposed to have written the acts of his 
martyrdom. The voyage appears to have been a very cruel ordeal, for Ignatius 
was guarded night and day by ten soldiers who were so brutal that he says they were 
like " ten leopards " and he adds that he was " fighting with wild beasts on land 
and sea, by day and night " and " they only grow worse when they are kindly 
treated ". 

The numerous stoppages, however, gave the saint opportunities of confirming 
in the faith the various churches near the coast of Asia Minor. Wherever the ship 
put in, the Christians sent their bishops and priests to meet him, and great crowds 
assembled to receive the benediction of one who was practically already a martyr. 
Deputies were also appointed to escort him on his way. At Smyrna, he had the 
joy of meeting his former fellow disciple St Polycarp, and hither came also Bishop 
Onesimus at the head of a deputation from Ephesus, Bishop Damas with envoys 
from Magnesia, and Bishop Polybius from Tralles. One of the deputies, Burrhus, 
was so useful that St Ignatius asked the Ephesians to allow him to stay with him 
as a companion. From Smyrna, the saint wrote four letters. 

The letter to the Ephesians begins with high praise of that church. He exhorts 
them to remain in harmony with their bishop and all their clergy, to assemble often 
for public prayer, to be meek and humble, to suffer injuries without murmuring. 
He praises them for their zeal against heresy and reminds them that their most 
ordinary actions are spiritualized in so far as they are done in Jesus Christ. He 
calls them his fellow travellers on the road to God and tells them that they bear 
God and Christ in their breasts. He speaks in much the same terms in his letters 
to the churches of Magnesia and Tralles and warns them against the docetic 
teaching which explained away the reality of Christ's body and His human 
life. In the letter to Tralles Ignatius tells that community to keep from heresy, 
" which you will do if you remain united to God, even Jesus Christ, and the 
bishop and the ordinances of the apostles. He who is within the altar is clean, 
but he that is outside it, that is, who acts independently of the bishop, priests 
and deacons, is not clean." The fourth letter, addressed to the Christians in 
Rome, is an entreaty to them to do nothing to prevent him from winning the crown 
of martyrdom ; there was, he thought, some danger that the more influential 
would try to obtain a mitigation of his sentence. His alarm was not ill-founded. 
Christianity at this date had made converts in high places. Such men as Flavius 
Clemens, the cousin of the emperor, and the Acilii Glabriones had powerful 
friends in the administration. The pagan satirist Lucian (c. a.d. 165), who 
almost certainly was familiar with these letters of Ignatius, bears witness to the 
same effect. 

220 


ST IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH [February i 

" I fear your charity ", the bishop writes, " lest it prejudice me. For it is easy 
for you to do what you please ; but it will be difficult for me to come to God unless 
you hold your hand. I shall never have another such opportunity of attaining 
unto my Lord. . . . Therefore you cannot do me a greater favour than to suffer 
me to be poured out as a libation to God whilst the altar is ready ; that, forming a 
choir in love, you may give thanks to the Father by Jesus Christ that God has 
vouchsafed to bring me, a Syrian bishop, from the east to the west to pass out of 
this world, that I may rise again unto Him. . . . Only pray for me that God may 
give me grace within as well as without, not only to say it but to desire it, that I may 
not only be called but be found a Christian. . . . Suffer me to be the food of wild 
beasts through whom I may attain unto God. I am God's grain and I am to be 
ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. 
Rather entice the beasts to become my sepulchre, that they may leave nothing of 
my body, that when I am dead I may not be troublesome to any man. ... I do 
not command you, as Peter and Paul did : they were apostles, whereas I am a 
culprit under sentence : they were free, but I am even yet a slave. But if I suffer 
I shall then become the freedman of Jesus Christ and in Him I shall arise free. . . . 
I have joy of the beasts that are prepared for me and I heartily wish that they may 
devour me promptly : nay, I would even entice them to devour me immediately 
and wnolly, and not to serve me as they have served some whom they have been 
afraid to touch. If they are unwilling to meddle with me, I will even compel them. 
Excuse me in this matter. I know what is good for me. Now I begin to be a 
disciple. May nothing visible or invisible begrudge me that I may attain unto 
Jesus Christ. Come fire and cross, gashes and rendings, breaking of bones and 
mangling of limbs, the shattering in pieces of my whole body ; come all the wicked 
torments of the Devil upon me if I may but attain unto Jesus Christ. . . . The 
prince of this world tries to snatch me away, and to corrupt the Godward strivings 
of my soul. Let none of you who are at hand lend him your aid. Be rather on my 
side, that is, on God's. Do not have the name of Jesus Christ upon your lips and 
worldly desires in your hearts. Even were I myself, when I come amongst you, 
to implore your help, do not hearken to me but rather believe what I tell you by 
letter. I write this full of life, but my longing is for death." 

The guards were in a hurry to leave Smyrna in order that they might reach 
Rome before the games were over — for illustrious victims of venerable appearance 
were always a great attraction in the amphitheatre — and Ignatius himself gladly 
acquiesced. They next sailed to Troas, where they learnt that peace had been 
restored to the church at Antioch. At Troas he wrote three more letters. To 
the Philadelphians he praises their bishop, whom he does not name, and he begs 
them avoid heresy. " Use one eucharist ; for the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ 
is one and the cup is one, to unite us all in His blood. There is one altar, as there 
is one bishop, together with the body of the priesthood and the deacons my fellow 
servants, that whatever you do, you may do according to God." In the letter to 
the Smyrnaeans we find another warning against the docetic heretics who denied 
that Christ had really assumed human flesh and that the Eucharist is actually His 
body. He forbids all intercourse with such false teachers— permitting only that 
they should be prayed for. The last letter is to St Polycarp, and consists mainly 
of advice to him, as to one greatly the writer's junior. He exhorts him to labour 
for Christ, to put down false teaching, to look after widows, to hold frequent 
services, and reminds him that the measure of his labours will be the measure of 

221 


February i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

his reward. As St Ignatius had not time to write to other churches, he asked St 
Polycarp to do so in his name. 

From Troas they sailed to Neapolis in Macedonia, and afterwards, we are told, 
they went to Philippi and, having crossed Macedonia and Epirus on foot, took ship 
again at Epidamnum (now Durazzo in Albania). These details, it must be con- 
fessed, depend only upon the so-called " acts," of the martyrdom, and we can place 
no confidence in the description which has been left us of the closing scene. As 
the saint approached Rome, the faithful are said to have come out to meet him, 
rejoicing at his presence in their midst but grieving that they were to lose him so 
soon. As he had anticipated, they were desirous of taking steps to obtain his 
release, but he entreated them not to hinder him from going to the Lord. Then, 
kneeling down with the brethren, he prayed for the Church, for the cessation of 
persecution, and for charity and unanimity among the faithful. According to the 
same legend he arrived in Rome on December 20, the last day of the public games, 
and was brought before the prefect of the city, to whom the emperor's letter was 
delivered. In due course the soldiers hurried him off to the Flavian amphitheatre,* 
and there we are told that two fierce lions were let out upon him, who devoured him 
immediately, leaving nothing but the larger bones. Thus was his prayer heard. 

There seems to be reasonable ground for believing that what fragments could 
be collected of the martyr's remains were taken back to Antioch and were venerated 
— no doubt at first in such a way as not to attract too much attention — " in a 
cemetery outside the Daphne gate ". It is St Jerome, writing in 392, who tells 
us this, and we know that he had himself visited Antioch. From the ancient 
Syrian Martyrology we learn that the martyr's feast was kept in those regions 
on October 17, and it may be assumed that the panegyric of St Ignatius preached by 
St John Chrysostom when he was still a priest at Antioch was delivered on that day. 
He lays great stress upon the point that while the soil of Rome had been drenched 
with the victim's blood, Antioch cherished his relics as a possession for all time. 
" You lent him for a season ", he told the people, " and you received him back with 
interest. You sent him forth a bishop, you recovered him a martyr. You led 
him out with prayers, you brought him home with the laurel wreaths of victory." 
But even in Chrysostom's time legend had already begun to play its part. The 
orator supposes that Ignatius had been appointed by the apostle St Peter himself 
to succeed him in the bishopric of Antioch. No wonder that at a later date a whole 
correspondence was fabricated, including letters which purported to have been 
exchanged between the martyr and the Blessed Virgin while she still dwelt on 
aarth after her Son's ascension. Perhaps the most naive of all these medieval 
fictions was the story which identified Ignatius with the little child whom our Lord 
(Mark ix 36) took into His arms and made the subject of a lesson in humility. 

The obscurity which surrounds almost all the details of this great martyr's career 
is in marked contrast to the certainty with which scholarship now affirms 
the genuineness of the seven letters referred to above as written by him on his way 
to Rome. This is not the place to enter upon a discussion of the three recensions 
of these letters, known as the Longer, the Curetonian and the Vossian. The 
controversy, continued for centuries, has given rise to an immense literature, but 
the dispute is now practically settled. It can at any rate be said that, with the 

* There seems, however, to be no satisfactory reason for believing that St Ignatius 
suffered in the Flavian Amphitheatre or Colosseum rather than elsewhere. See Delehaye, 
Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xvi (1897), pp. 209-252. 

222 


ST IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH [February i 

rarest exceptions, the present generation of patristic students are agreed in admitting 
the authenticity of the middle recension, which was first identified by Arphbishop 
Ussher in 1644, and of which the Greek text was printed by Isaac Voss and by Dom 
Ruinart a little later in the same century. 

The importance of the testimony which these letters bear to the beliefs and 
internal organization of the Christian Church less than a hundred years after the 
ascension of our Lord can hardly be exaggerated. St Ignatius of Antioch is the 
first writer outside the New Testament to lay stress upon the virgin-birth. To the 
Ephesians, for example, he writes, " And from the prince of this world were hidden 
Mary's virginity and her child-bearing, in like manner also the death of the Lord ". 
The mystery of the Trinity, too, is plainly taken for granted, and we detect a definite 
approach to clear Christological conceptions when we read in the same letter (ch. 
vii), " There is one Physician, of flesh and of spirit, begotten and unbegotten, God 
in man, true Life in death, son of Mary and son of God, first passible and then 
impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord." Not less remarkable are the phrases used in 
connection with the Holy Eucharist. It is " the flesh of Christ ", " the gift of 
God ", " the medicine of immortality ", and Ignatius denounces the heretics " who 
confess not that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which flesh 
suffered for our sins and which in His loving-kindness the Father raised up ". 
Finally it is in the letter to the Smyrnaeans that for the first time in Christian 
literature we find mention of " the Catholic Church ". " Wherever ", he writes, 
" the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wherever Christ Jesus is, there 
is the Catholic Church." The saint often speaks severely of the heretical specula- 
tions — in particular, those of the docetists— which already in his day were threaten- 
ing mischief to the integrity of the Christian faith. It might indeed be said that 
the key-note of all his instruction was insistence upon unity of belief and spirit 
among those who professed to be our Lord's followers. But, with all his dread of 
heresy, he emphasizes the need of indulgence towards the erring and urges patient 
forbearance and the love of the cross. The exhortation he addresses to the 
Ephesians provides a lesson for everyone whose religion is no empty name : 

And for the rest of men pray unceasingly — for there is in them hope of 
repentance — that they may attain unto God. Suffer them therefore to be 
instructed by the example of your works. In face of their outbursts of wrath 
be meek ; in face of their boastful words be humble ; meet their revilings with 
prayers ; where they are in error be steadfast in the faith ; in face of their fury 
be gentle. Be not eager to retaliate upon them. Let our forbearance prove 
us their brethren. Let us endeavour to be imitators of the Lord, striving who 
can suffer the greater wrong, who can be defrauded, who be set at naught, that 
no rank weed of the Devil be found in you. But in all purity and sobriety 
abide in Christ Jesus in flesh and in spirit. 

It will be plain from what has preceded that, practically speaking, the seven letters of 
St Ignatius himself form the only reliable source of information concerning him. For 
English readers these may be conveniently consulted in the masterly work of Bishop Light- 
foot, The Apostolic Fathers (1 877-1 885). A handy translation, with valuable introduction 
and notes, is provided in Dr J. H. Srawley's volume, The Epistles of St Ignatius (1935), and 
there is a text and translation by Kirsopp Lake in the Loeb Classical Library, The Apostolic 
Fathers, vol. i (1930). The translation and notes in the Early Christian Writers series (1946) 
are by Dr J. A. Kleist. Other editions, such as those of A. Lelong, F. X. Funk and T. Zahn, 
need not here be mentioned. The letters of Ignatius, translated into Latin and also into 
several oriental languages, were widely known to early Christian writers. Even the British 

223 


February i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

St Gildas, in his De excidio Britanniae, written about 540, quotes from that addressed to the 
Romans. Chrysostom's panegyric is in Migne, PG., vol. 1. For further considerations on 
the date of the martyrdom, see H. Gregoire in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxix (1951), pp. 
1 seq. St Ignatius is named in the canon of the Mass of the Roman, Syrian and Maronite 
rites. 

ST PIONIUS, Martyr (a.d. 250 ?) 

A priest of Smyrna and a true heir of the spirit of St Polycarp, St Pionius was an 
eloquent and learned man who converted multitudes to the true faith. During 
the persecution of Decius (Marcus Aurelius ?) he was apprehended, together with 
Sabina and Asclepiades, while they were celebrating the anniversary festival of St 
Polycarp's martyrdom. Pionius was forewarned in a dream of his impending fate. 
In the morning while they were taking the " holy bread " (probably the eulogia 
blessed and distributed at Mass) with water, they were surprised and seized by 
Polemon, the chief priest of the temple. Throughout lengthy cross-examinations, 
they resisted all solicitations to offer sacrifice and, professing their readiness to 
suffer the worst torments and even death rather than give way, they declared that 
they worshipped only one God and that they belonged to the Catholic Church. 
When Asclepiades was asked what God he worshipped he made answer, " Jesus 
Christ ". Polemon said, " Is that another god ? " Asclepiades, replied, " No ; 
He is that same God whom they have just confessed " — a clear declaration at this 
early date of the consubstantiality of God the Son. When Sabina heard threats 
that they would all be burnt alive, she only smiled. The pagans said, " Dost thou 
smile ? Then thou shalt be sent to the public stews." She answered, " God will 
be my protector there". 

They were cast into prison, and chose to be placed in a less accessible dungeon 
in order that, being alone, they might be at more liberty to pray. They were 
dragged by force into the temple and violence was used to compel them to sacrifice. 
They resisted with all their might, so much so that, as the acta report, " it took six 
men to overpower Pionius ". When garlands were placed on their heads the 
martyrs tore them off ; and the priest whose duty it was to bring them the sacrificial 
food was afraid to approach them. Their constancy atoned for the scandal caused 
by Eudaemon, Bishop of Smyrna, who had apostatized and offered sacrifice. When 
the proconsul Quintilian arrived in Smyrna, he caused Pionius to be stretched on 
the rack and his body to be torn with hooks, and he afterwards condemned him to 
death. The sentence, we are told, was read out in Latin : " Pionius confesses that 
he is a Christian, and we order him to be burnt alive ". 

In the ardour of his faith it was the martyr himself who was foremost in hastening 
to the stadium (the public race-course), and there he divested himself of his gar- 
ments. His limbs showed no sign of the recent torture. Raising himself upon 
the wooden stand, he let the soldier fasten the nails. When he had thus been 
firmly secured the presiding officer said, " Think better of it even now and the 
nails shall be taken out " ; but he answered that it was his desire to die soon in 
order that he might rise again the sooner. Standing with his face towards the east 
while fuel was piled up round him, Pionius closed his eyes, so that the people 
thought that he had fainted. But he was praying silently, and having reached the 
end of his prayer, he opened his eyes and said " Amen ", his face radiant all the 
while the flames were rising about him. At last with the words, " Lord, receive 
my soul ", he gave up his spirit peacefully and painlessly to the Father who has 

224 


ST BRIGID, OR BRIDE [February i 

promised to guard every soul unjustly condemned. This all seems to be the 
account of an eye-witness, who tells us further that when the fire was put out " we 
who stood by saw that his body was like the well-cared-for body of a lusty athlete ; 
the hair on his head and cheeks was not singed, and on his face there shone a 
wondrous radiance." 

His acts, purporting to be written by eye-witnesses, are quoted by Eusebius and have 
been published by Ruinart from a Latin version, but there is also a Greek text which is 
probably the original. Lightfoot says of them, " These acts bear every mark of genuineness", 
and Delehaye, who discusses the question at some length in his Les Passions des Martyrs . . . 
(1921), pp. 27-59, is in thorough agreement. The Greek text of the acta may be conveniently 
consulted in O. von Gebhardt, Acta martyrum selecta, pp. 96-114. The greater part may 
be found excellently translated into English in J. A. F. Gregg's The Decian Persecution, 
pp. 240-261. For the question of date, cf. H. Gr£go.ire in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxix 
(1951), pp. 1 seq. 

ST BRIGID, or BRIDE, Abbess of Kildare, Virgin (c. a.d. 525) 

For anything in the nature of a connected story the numerous " lives " of St 
Brigid, written by her countrymen from one to four centuries after her death, 
supply no materials. Yet there cannot be any question that she must be numbered 
among the greatest and most highly venerated of the saints whose virtues lent glory 
to Ireland and helped, at least indirectly, to christianize Europe. Her memory, 
as it lived in the hearts of the people, was identified with an extraordinary spirit of 
charity. The greater part of the list of extravagant miracles which does duty for 
a chronicle of her work on earth is represented as being the compassionate response 
to some appeal which had moved her pity or roused her sense of justice. It would 
be a very false inference to conclude, as some have done, that because the incidents 
recorded of her are for the most part quite incredible, she was therefore herself nc 
more than a myth. The people of Ireland beyond most other peoples are both 
imaginative and full of enthusiasm, and it follows that they are jealous of the glory 
of those whom they hold in honour. To record ordinary and possible things of her 
whom they called " the Mary of the Gael ", and regarded as the patroness of all the 
good women to whom Erin has given birth, would have seemed derogatory to her 
dignity. The very fact that strange marvels were attributed to Patrick and many 
lesser heroes of sanctity made it necessary that she also should not be without her 
crown : were not Patrick and Brigid " the columns on which all Ireland rested ? " 
Bare prosaic facts were not worth chronicling, or what comes to the same thing, 
were not judged to be worth reading in the case of one so exalted as she. It is 
important to have a clear perception of this curious mentality if we are not to be 
misled by the extravagances which swarm in such collections as Plummer's Bethada 
Ndem n-Erenn, or in the Book of Lismore. The same caution applies in a measure 
to all medieval hagiography, but it is especially true of that which has been trans- 
mitted to us by Celtic pens. The example of even one extravagant Life imposed 
a kind of constraint upon all the biographers who came after to live up to the same 
standard. There must be signs and wonders, prodigies upon an heroic scale ; 
and if these were lacking the chronicler paid the penalty of seeing his book cast 
aside as stale and unprofitable. It is this unfortunate love of the sensational 
among simple and unsophisticated souls which explains how it has come about in 
all early hagiography that for one manuscript of the acta sincera, the really 
truthful record of a martyr's ordeal, we possess fifty of any story which has 

225 


February i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

been so distorted and embellished with marvels that it can be regarded as little 
better than a romance. 

What can be affirmed, then, with certainty regarding the facts of St Brigid's 
history is remarkably little. We are probably safe in saying that she was born about 
the middle of the fifty century at Faughart, near Dundalk. She undoubtedly 
consecrated herself to God at an early age, but the statement that she was " veiled " 
by St Maccaille at Mag Teloch and afterwards consecrated by St Mel at Ardagh 
sounds very questionable. The difficulty is increased by a gloss appended to St 
Broccan's hymn on St Brigid that St Mel " conferred upon her the order of a 
bishop ", and that from this Brigid's successor " has always a right to have bishop's 
orders and a bishop's honour upon her ". Father John Ryan discusses the prob- 
lem in his Irish Monasticism, and concludes that " the story was occasioned by 
the exceptional honour paid, as a matter of traditional usage, to St Brigid's successor 
at Kildare, an honour that in some respects could be compared with the special 
honour shown to bishops in the hierarchy of the Church ". But, strangely enough, 
apart from the account of Cogitosus, St Brigid's foundation of the nunnery at 
Kildare is not much dwelt upon in the lives, though this seems to have been the 
great historic fact of her career and the achievement which made her in some sense 
the mother and exemplar of all the consecrated virgins of Ireland for many centuries 
to come. 

We may perhaps most compendiously form an idea of the general tone of the 
early lives by translating a few paragraphs from the lessons in the Breviarium 
Aberdonense. 

The holy Brigid, whom God foreknew and predestined to grow unto His 
own likeness, sprang from a worthy and prudent Scottish [i.e. Irish] stock, 
having for father Dubthac and for mother Brocca, from earliest years making 
progress in all good. For this maiden, the elect of God, full of soberness and 
wisdom, ever advanced towards what was more perfect. Sent by her mother 
to collect the butter made from the milk of the cows, as other women were 
sent, she gave it all to the poor. Ajid when the others returned with their 
load and she sought to make restitution of the produce of the cows, turning in 
tender deference to our Lord, God for His virgin's sake gave back the butter 
with usury. In due time, when her parents wished to bestow her in marriage, 
she vowed chastity, and as in the presence of a most holy bishop she made 
her vow, it happened that she touched with her hand the wooden pillar on 
which the altar rested. In memory of that maiden's action long ago up to 
the present hour this wood remains as it were green, or, as if it had not 
been cut and stripped of its bark, it flourishes in its roots and heals cripples 
innumerable. 

Saintly as she was and faithful, Brigid, seeing that the time for her espousals 
was drawing near, asked our Lord to send her some deformity so as to frustrate 
the importunity of her parents, whereupon one of her eyes split open and 
melted in her head. Therefore, having received the holy veil, Brigid with 
other consecrated virgins remained in the city of Meath, where our Lord at 
her prayer vouchsafed to work many miracles. She healed a stranger, by name 
Marcus ; she supplied beer out of one barrel to eighteen churches, which 
sufficed from Maundy Thursday to the end of paschal time. On a leprous 
woman asking for milk, there being none at hand she gave her cold water, but 
the water was turned into milk, and when she had drunk it the woman was 

226 


ST BRIGID, OR BRIDE [February i 

healed. Then she cured a leper and gave sight to two blind men. Making a 
journey in answer to an urgent call, she chanced to slip at a ford and cut her 
head, but with the blood that flowed therefrom two dumb women recovered 
their speech. After this a precious vessel of the king's, slipping from the hand 
of a yokel, was broken, and that he might not be punished it was restored 
uninjured by Brigid. 

But among these and many similar extravagances, some legends are beautiful. 

One such, in particular, concerning the blind nun Dara, can hardly be told more 

sympathetically than in the words of Sabine Baring-Gould : 

One evening, as the sun went down, Brigid sat with Sister Dara, a holy nun 
who was blind, and they talked of the love of Jesus Christ and the joys of 
Paradise. Now their hearts were so full that the night fled away whilst they 
spoke together, and neither knew that so many hours had passed. Then the 
sun came up from behind the Wicklow mountains, and the pure white light 
made tht face of earth bright and gay. Then Brigid sighed, when she saw 
how lovely were earth and sky, and knew that Dara's eyes were closed to all 
this beauty. So she bowed her head and prayed, and extended her hand and 
signed the dark orbs of the gentle sister. Then the darkness passed away from 
them, and Dara saw the golden ball in the east and all the trees and flowers 
glittering with dew in the morning light. She looked a little while, and then, 
turning to the abbess, said, " Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the 
world is so visible to the eyes, God is seen less clearly to the soul." So Brigid 
prayed once more, and Dara's eyes grew dark again. 

Of the saint's great religious foundation at Kill-dara (the church of the oak) 
and of the rule which was there followed we know little or nothing that is reliable. 
It is generally supposed that it was a " double monastery ", i.e. that it included 
men as well as women, for such was the common practice in Celtic lands. It is 
also quite possible that St Brigid presided over both communities, for this arrange- 
ment would by no means have been without a parallel. But the text of her rule — 
there is mention of a " regula Sanctae Brigidae " in the Life of St Kieran of Clon- 
macnois — appears not to have survived. More than six centuries later Giraldus 
Cambrensis collected some curious traditions regarding this foundation. He says, 
for example : " In Kildare of Leinster, which the glorious Brigid made illustrious, 
there are many wonders worthy of mention. Foremost among which is the fire 
of Brigid which they call inextinguishable ; not that it cannot be extinguished, but 
because the nuns and holy women so anxiously and punctually cherish and nurse 
the fire with a supply of fuel that during many centuries from the virgin's own day 
it has ever remained alight and the ashes have never accumulated, although in so 
long a time so vast a pile of wood hath here been consumed. Whereas in the time 
of Brigid twenty nuns here served the Lord, she herself being the twentieth, there 
have been only nineteen from the time of her glorious departure and they have not 
added to that number. But as each nun in her turn tends the fire for one night, 
when the twentieth night comes the last maiden having placed the wood ready, 
saith, ' Brigid, tend that fire of thine, for this is thy night.' And the fire being so 
left, in the morning they find it still alight and the fuel consumed in the usual way. 
That fire is surrounded by a circular hedge of bushes within which no male enters, 
and if one should presume to enter, as some rash men have attempted, he does not 
escape divine vengeance." 

227 


February i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

This is the story to which the poet Tom Moore alluded when he wrote of — 

The bright lamp that shone in Kildare's holy fane 
And burned through long ages of darkness and storm. 

But despite the predominance of legendary material, the enthusiasm which the 
memory of St Brigid evoked among her countrymen is unmistakable. It would 
not be easy to find anything more fervent in expression than the rhapsodies of the 
Book of humor e : 

Everything that Brigid would ask of the Lord was granted her at once. 
For this was her desire : to satisfy the poor, to expel every hardship, to spare 
every miserable man. Now there never hath been anyone more bashful or 
more modest or more gentle or more humble or more discerning or more 
harmonious than Brigid. In the sight of other people she never washed her 
hands or her feet or her head. She never looked at the face of man. She 
never spoke without blushing. She was abstemious, she was innocent, she 
was prayerful, she was patient : she was glad in God's commandments : she 
was firm, she was humble, she was forgiving, she was loving : she was a conse- 
crated casket for keeping Christ's body and His blood ; she was a temple of 
God. Her heart and her mind were a throne of rest for the Holy Ghost. She 
was single-hearted [towards God] : she was compassionate towards the 
wretched ; she was splendid in miracles and marvels : wherefore her name 
among created things is Dove among birds, Vine among trees, Sun among 
stars. This is the father of that holy virgin, the Heavenly Father : this is her 
son, Jesus Christ : this is her fosterer, the Holy Ghost : wherefore this holy 
virgin performs such great marvels and innumerable miracles. It is she that 
helpeth every one who is in straits and in danger : it is she that abateth the 
pestilences : it is she that quelleth the rage and storm of the sea. She is the 
prophetess of Christ : she is the Queen of the South : she is the Mary of the 
Gael. 

But the language of other native writers of earlier date is at times even more 
far-fetched. We probably understand too little of Gaelic psychology to be 
quite certain of the real meaning of the phrases which we meet with in such docu- 
ments as the Hymn of St Broccan, but our translators convey that Brigid was 
actually identified with Mary the Blessed Virgin. For example, we read : 

Brigid, mother of my high King 

Of the kingdom of Heaven, best was she born. 

Or again she is called " the one mother of the Great King's Son ". It is possible 
that some echoes of earlier pagan mythology were mixed up with all this, for Brig 
seems to have been an abstraction, meaning " valour " or " might ", which was 
personified as a female goddess and particularly associated with a fire cult on 
February i. This might account for some of the details in Giraldus's description 
of Kildare, quoted above ; but the whole subject is wrapped in the deepest obscur- 
ity. According to Charles Plummer (VSH., vol. i, p. cxxxvi), " Brigid's name is 
fancifully etymologized * breosaiget ', i.e. fiery arrow, and certainly her legend 
exhibits many traits of this kind. Brigid has moreover heathen namesakes, e.g. 
' Brigid banfile ', i.e. the poetess-mother of three gods of poetry. This identity 
of name is a great occasion of transference of myths." 

228 


ST JOHN " OF THE GRATING " [February i 

In early times St Brigid was much honoured in Scotland and also in those parts 
of England which were more directly in contact with Celtic influences, and there 
are several places in Wales called LlansantfTraid, St Bride's Church. In Ireland 
the churches dedicated to her are innumerable ; in England we know of nineteen 
pre-Reformation dedications. Most of these are in the West-country, but one 
church in London is famous, St Bride's in Fleet Street. Bridewell, originally a 
royal palace, seems to have acquired its name from its contiguity to St Bride's. 
Her feast is observed throughout Ireland, Wales, Australia and New Zealand. 

The early Latin lives of St Brigid have been printed by Colgan in his Trias Thaumaturga, 
including that by Cogitosus, which approaches nearer to a formal biography than most of 
the others. In the Proceedings of the R. Irish Academy, vol. xxx (1912), pp. 307 seq., Esposito 
has given reasons for thinking that Cogitosus was the father of Muirchu and that he flourished 
about 620-680. St Broccan's hymn of panegyric is printed in the Irish Liber Hymnorum 
of the Henry Bradshaw Society, vol. ii, p. 193. Canon O'Hanlon in LIS., vol. ii, devotes 
more than 200 pp. to St Brigid, and a full account will also be found in LBS., vol. i, pp. 
264-288. See also The Book of Lismore (ed. Whitley Stokes) ; J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism 
(1931), pp. 134-136, 179-184 and passim ; Alice Curtayne, St Brigid of Ireland (1933) i 
F. O'Briain, St Brigid, her Legend, History and Cult (1938) ; and M. A. O'Brien, " The 
Old Irish Life of St Brigid " in Irish Historical Studies, vol. i (1938-1939), pp. 121-134, 
343-353. On this Brigid's cult in Sweden, see Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxi (1943), pp. 
108-116. Cf. L. Gougaud, Christianity in Celtic Lands (1932). 

ST SIGEBERT III OF AUSTRASIA (ad. 656) 

Dagobert I, King of France, led for some time a very dissolute life, but was 
touched by grace at the birth of his son Sigebert, and from that hour was converted 
to God. Desiring to have his son baptized by the holiest prelate of his realm, he 
recalled St Amand, whom he had banished for the uncompromising zeal with which 
he had rebuked Dagobert's excesses, and he asked his pardon and promised amend- 
ment. The baptism took place with great pomp at. Orleans. The young prince's 
education was entrusted to Bd Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace. After the 
death of Dagobert in 638, Sigebert reigned in Austrasia and his brother Clovis in 
the rest of France. Pepin of Landen continued to be mayor of the palace, and not 
only proved himself a faithful minister but also formed the young prince to Chris- 
tian virtue. Sigebert reigned in good understanding with his brother, and the 
only war in which he was involved was one occasioned by a revolt amongst the 
Thuringians. It ended somewhat disastrously for the Austrasian army. Sigebert 
was assiduous in prayer, in relieving the poor and in endowing monasteries, 
churches and hospitals. He founded twelve monasteries, the two principal of 
which were at Stavelot and Malmedy. A life filled with good works and devoted 
to God can never be called short. God was pleased to call this good king to the 
reward of his labours in the year 656, the eighteenth of his reign and the twenty-fifth 
of his age. 

For the life of the saint, see the chronicle of Fredegarius and the Vita Sigeberti by Sigebert 
of Gembloux. A short modern biography by the Abbe Guise has been published in the 
series " Les Saints " (1920). 

ST JOHN "OF THE GRATING ", Bishop of Saint-Malo (c. 

A.D. 1 170) 

This saint is surnamed " de Craticula " from the iron grating which surrounded 
his tomb. He was a Breton and the son of parents in rather poor circumstances. 

229 * 


February i] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

He received, however, an excellent education and made good progress in the arts 
and sciences. He was greatly attracted by the Cistercian Order, which at that 
period was riveting the attention of the w r orld, and he went himself to seek St 
Bernard who, after testing him, received him into his own community. When 
Count Stephen de Penthievre and his wife wished to found a monastery on their 
estate, St Bernard sent them John, who established a religious house at Begard in 
the diocese of Treguier. He subsequently founded another at Buzay ; of that he 
became abbot, but to the great grief of his religious he was elected bishop of Aleth. 
As he found that the population on the isle of Aaron was increasing and that it was 
becoming a very important city, John transferred the seat of his diocese to that 
place, which he renamed Saint-Malo. 

St John had great trouble over his cathedral, in which he installed canons 
regular of St Augustine. It had previously been a church controlled by monks of 
Marmoutier at Tours, and they involved him in wearisome litigation. When the 
French bishops gave their verdict against St John, he, acting on the advice of St 
Bernard, went himself to Rome and laid the matter before the pope, who decided 
in his favour. His adversaries, however, found a pretext for raising the question 
afresh, and John had to travel to Rome more than once. It was eighteen years 
before the affair was finally settled and his opponents silenced ; one of the letters 
of his correspondence with St Bernard on the subject is still extant. His bio- 
graphers dilate upon his patience under these prolonged trials and upon the con- 
spicuous spirit of charity and forbearance which marked all his dealings with others. 
St John was commissioned to reform the monastery of Saint-Meen de Gael, and, 
in addition to the other religious houses he had established, he founded the abbeys 
of Sainte-Croix de Guingamp and of Saint-Jacques de Montfort. He lived a life 
of much austerity and died about 1170. 

See A. Le Grand, Vie des saints de la Bretagne Armorique ; Lobineau, Saints de Bretagne, 
vol. ii, pp. 393-410 ; Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i. 

BD ANTONY THE PILGRIM (ad. 1267) 

Antony Manzi, or Manzoni, was a native of Padua and belonged to a distinguished 
family. His father died while he was still young and left him considerable riches, 
which he immediately gave away to the poor. For this he was blamed by his 
fellow citizens and by his relations — especially as he had two sisters — and he was 
reviled in the streets and subjected to indignities of all sorts. Resolved to live a 
life of poverty, he assumed the garb of a pilgrim and left Padua, wandering about 
until at Bazano/ near Bologna, he found a sick and saintly old priest whom he served 
for three years for the love of God. They lived on the alms Antony received by 
begging, and in turn gave away everything beyond what was required for actual 
sustenance. Throughout his life he fasted, took severe disciplines, wore a rough 
hair shirt, and always slept on the bare ground with a stone for his pillow. After 
his stay at Bazano he wandered far and wide, making pilgrimages to Rome, to 
Loreto, to Compostela, to Cologne and to Jerusalem. Finally he returned to his 
native city where he was not more kindly regarded, even by his sisters who were 
nuns there, than when he took his departure many years before. He made a home 
for himself in the colonnade of a church outside the walls, and there, not long after, 
he died. When miracles began to be worked at his grave the Paduans who had 
scorned him in his lifetime sought to have him canonized ; but the pope replied 

230 


BD HENRY MORSE [February i 

that it was enough for the city of Padua to have one Saint Antony. Nevertheless 
the cultus seems to have persisted and his feast is kept at Padua. 

The most reliable account of Bd Antony and his miracles is that which has been published 
in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xiii (1894), pp. 417-425. Cf. also ib., vol. xiv, pp. 108 seq., 
and the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i. 

BD HENRY MORSE, Martyr (a.d. 1645) 

Henry Morse was born in 1595 somewhere in East Anglia, and was brought up in 
the Protestant faith of his parents, who were of the country gentry. While reading 
law in London he decided to become a Catholic, and at the age of twenty-three 
went abroad and was received into the Church at Douay. He began his studies 
for the priesthood there, but finished them in the Venerabile at Rome, where he 
was ordained. Soon after landing at Newcastle in 1624 he was arrested and im- 
prisoned in the castle at York. Before leaving Rome he had obtained the agreement 
of the father general of the Society of Jesus that he should be admitted to the 
Society in England, and it so happened that a Jesuit, Father John Robinson, was a 
fellow prisoner at York. Accordingly, the three years that Henry Morse spent in 
prison there were passed as a novitiate, and he there made his simple vows. Even- 
tually he was released and banished, whereupon he went to Flanders and for a 
time was chaplain and missioner to the English soldiers serving the king of Spain 
there. 

At the end of 1633 Father Morse came back to England and, under the name of 
Cuthbert Claxton, ministered in London. He was particularly active during the 
plague epidemic of 1636-37. He had a list of four hundred infected families, 
Protestant as well as Catholic, which he visited regularly with physical and spiritual 
help. This made so great an impression that in one year nearly a hundred families 
were reconciled with the Church. He himself caught the disease three times, but 
each time recovered ; and he had to be warned by his superiors to moderate his 
zeal. At this very time the authorities deemed it suitable to arrest Father Morse, 
and charge him with being a priest and with " perverting " five hundred and sixty 
of his Majesty's Protestant subjects " in and about the parish of St Giles in the 
Fields ". On the second charge he was found not guilty, but on the first guilty ; 
however, Queen Henrietta Maria intervened and he was released on a bail of 10,000 
florins. When the royal proclamation was made ordering all priests to leave the 
country by April 7, 1641, Father Morse obeyed it in order not to involve his 
sureties ; and he again took up his work with the English troops abroad. 1 

From Ghent he was in 1643 sent back to England, and laboured in the north 
for eighteen months, till he was apprehended on suspicion while making a sick-call 
on the borders of Cumberland. He was taken off towards Durham, but on the way 
the Catholic wife of one of his captors, at whose house they were spending the 
night, enabled him to escape. But about six weeks later he was rearrested (through 
his guide to a certain house losing his memory), and after some weeks in jail at 
Durham he was shipped from Newcastle to London. Here he was brought to the 
bar of the Old Bailey and sentenced to death on the strength of his conviction nine 
years before. 

On the day of execution Father Morse celebrated a votive Mass of the Most 
Holy Trinity, and was drawn on a hurdle by four horses to Tyburn, where, as well 
as the usual crowd of sightseers and others, the French, Spanish and Portuguese 

2 3 1 


February 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ambassadors were present with their suites to do honour to the martyr. He told 
the people that he was dying for his religion, that he had worked only for the 
welfare of his countrymen, and that he knew nothing of plots against the king ; and 
after he had prayed aloud for himself and for his persecutors and for the kingdom 
of England, the cart was drawn away. This was on February 1, 1645. Among 
the many relics of the English martyrs obtained by the Count d'Egmont, Spanish 
ambassador, and carried overseas, those of Bd Henry Morse were among the most 
considerable. 

In the year that this martyr suffered there was published at Antwerp a volume, called 
Certamen Triplex, which contained an account of his life and death (and of Bd Thomas 
Holland and Bd Ralph Corby). Its author was Fr Ambrose Corby, brother of the last 
named. It was reprinted in Munich in the following year, and an English translation, The 
Threefold Conflict, appeared in London in 1858. This is the account that Challoner draws 
on in MMP. See REPSJ., vol. i. The list of relics obtained by Egmont is translated and 
printed in Camm's Forgotten Shrines (1910). 


A . THE PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. 

Commonly called Candlemas Day 

THE law of God given by Moses to the Jews ordained that a woman after 
child-birth should continue for a certain time in a state which the law 
called " unclean ", during which time she was not to appear in public or 
touch anything consecrated to God. Forty days after the birth of a son, eighty days 
after the birth of a daughter, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle 
or temple a lamb and a young pigeon or turtle-dove — the lamb for a burnt-offering 
in acknowledgement of God's sovereignty and in thanksgiving for her happy 
delivery, and the bird for a sin offering. These being sacrificed, the woman was 
cleansed of the legal impurity. In the case of poor people, a lamb was not required, 
but two pigeons or turtle-doves had to be brought. 

As our Lord had been conceived by the Holy Ghost, His mother remaining a 
virgin, it is evident that she was not within the intent of this law. She was, how- 
ever, within its intent in the eyes of the world, and she submitted to every humbling 
circumstance the law required. Devotion also and zeal to honour God by every 
prescribed observance prompted Mary to this act of religion and, being poor herself, 
she made the offering appointed for the poor.* 

A second great mystery is honoured this day, viz. the presentation of our 
Redeemer in the Temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify 
herself, there was another which ordained that the first-born son should be offered 
to God and then ransomed with a sum of money. Mary complies exactly with all 
these ordinances. She remains forty days at home, she denies herself all this time 
the liberty of entering the Temple of God, she partakes not of sacred things, 
although herself the living temple of God. On the day of her purification she walks 
several miles to Jerusalem with the world's Redeemer in her arms, she makes her 

* The visit of our Lady to the Temple for this purpose is also commemorated by the 
Church in the Blessing of a Woman after Childbirth, commonly called " Churching ". No 
idea of purification of any kind is contained in this Christian rite, for the honourable begetting 
and bearing of a child incurs no sort of taint. It is perhaps not out of place to add that the 
idea sometimes met that a mother should not go to church for any purpose before being 
churched is unwarranted and superstitious. 

232 


THE 'PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY [February 2 

offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her Son by the hands of the priest 
to His heavenly Father, redeems him with five shekels, and receives Him back into 
her arms till the Father shall again demand Him. Clearly Christ was not com- 
prehended in the law. " The King's son, to whom the inheritance of the crown 
belongs, is exempt from servitude — much more Christ, who was the redeemer both 
of our souls and bodies, was not ", as St Hilary says, " subject to any law by which 
He was to be Himself redeemed." Nevertheless He would set an example of 
humility, obedience and devotion, and would publicly renew that oblation of 
Himself to the Father which He had made at His incarnation. 

The day was marked by a third mystery, the meeting in the Temple of Simeon 
and Anna with the child Jesus and His parents. Holy Simeon received into his 
arms the object of all his longings and desires, and praised God for the happiness 
of beholding the longed-for Messiah. He foretold Mary's martyrdom of sorrow 
and announced that salvation through Christ awaited those who believed. The 
prophetess Anna also shared the privilege of recognizing and worshipping the 
world's Redeemer. He could not hide himself from those who sought Him in 
simplicity, humility, and ardent faith. Unless we also seek Him in these dis- 
positions, He will not manifest Himself to us, nor will He give us His graces. When 
Simeon had gazed upon his Saviour, he desired no longer to see the light of this 
world. 

It is only in comparatively recent years that we have learnt how early this 
celebration took its rise. A discovery made at Arezzo in 1887 revealed the existence 
of a hitherto unknown description of the ceremonial observed at Jerusalem, 
apparently in the last decade of the fourth century. It is now agreed that the author 
of this tractate was a certain Abbess Ether ia who, leaving her convent in the north- 
west of Spain, undertook a long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and wrote on her 
return a detailed account of her experiences. In the course of this narrative we 
learn how the feast of the birth of our Lord, which was then throughout the East 
kept with the Epiphany on January 6, was specially honoured at Jerusalem in the 
church of the Anastasis (Resurrection). Etheria adds details about the ceremonies, 
which continued during the octave, and then she goes on : 

The fortieth day after the Epiphany is undoubtedly celebrated here with 
the very highest honour, for on that day there is a procession, in which all 
take part in the Anastasis, and all things are done in their order with the 
greatest joy, just as at Easter. All the priests, and after them the bishop, 
preach, always taking for their subject that part of the Gospel where Joseph 
and Mary brought the Lord into the Temple on the fortieth day, and Simeon 
and Anna the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, saw Him — treating of the 
words which they spake when they saw the Lord, and of that offering which 
His parents made. 

There seems every probability that it was from Jerusalem that the observance 
of the feast spread through the Eastern world. For example, somewhere about 
the year 540, and possibly much earlier, we find it introduced at Ephesus under the 
name which it still bears among the Greeks, viz. the Hypapante {i.e. the " meeting" 
of Jesus with Simeon). It should be remembered that in the East, as was also at 
first the case in the West, this celebration is a festival of our Lord. It was the 
gospel incident which was commemorated, and the Blessed Virgin's part was 

233 


February 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

subordinate to that of her Son. It is rather surprising to find that from an early 
date, at any rate from the fifth century, there seems good evidence of the existence 
in Palestine of a procession with candles, /xera ktjplojv, on the feast of the Hypapante. 
In the Life of the Abbot Theodosius by Cyril of Scythopolis there is definite 
mention of the practice, and this allusion does not stand quite alone. The fact 
suggests at least the possibility that some Eastern influence may have introduced 
the custom to Rome and thence to other churches in the West, but to this question 
it will be necessary to return. 

With regard to the origin of the ceremonial now observed on Candlemas day, 
la Chandeleur ', as the French term it, in our present rite two separate elements must 
be carefully distinguished. The Mass and Office have no necessary connection 
with the blessing of candles and the subsequent procession ; the procession is 
unalterably attached to February 2, whereas the feast may be transferred. The 
same holds good in the case of the Litaniae major es on April 25, the feast of 
St Mark. Here we know that while the Christian procession of the litaniae 
dates from before the pontificate of St Gregory the Great and replaced the 
old pagan procession of the Robigalia, observed from time immemorial in Rome 
on that same day,* the feast of St Mark was of altogether later introduction. 
Furthermore the procession of Candlemas is a penitential procession. To this 
day the priest who presides wears a purple cope, and in former ages at Rome 
the pope, instead of riding, went barefoot, and he and his deacons wore black 
vestments. 

The earliest writer to offer any theory as to the origin of this Candlemas pro- 
cession is the Venerable Bede. In his De temporum ratione, written about the year 
721, he represents it as a Christian version of a February lustration ordained by 
Numa. This is only the first in time among several hypotheses, among which 
attention seems to be best directed to the pagan Lupercalia. This festival was a 
fertility rite of high antiquity, which was also presented as a symbolical purification 
of the land. Goats and dogs were sacrificed and afterwards the priests, called 
Luperci, cutting the skins of the victims into thongs, ran naked through the city, 
striking everyone they met, especially women, who put themselves in their way if 
they desired to have children. Despite the glaring paganism of this celebration 
it continued for centuries. Not only are the Lupercalia marked on the 15th in 
every calendar which contains the month of February, but they are frequently 

* It may be well to recall the fact that the word litanies (XiTavcTai, literally, supplications) 
in the time of St Gregory the Great and long afterwards was primarily associated with the 
idea of a procession, generally a penitential procession. Such religious processions were 
very familiar to the Roman populace in pagan days. From the earliest period in Rome 
and throughout Italy whenever the city, army, crops or herds seemed to be threatened by 
evil influences, recourse was had to a lustratio, a procession which went round the object to 
be purified or protected, leading with it the victims which were afterwards to be slaughtered, 
and stopping at certain stations for prayer and sacrifice. The particular lustration called 
the Robigalia, on April 25, had for its object, at least originally, the protection of the growing 
crops from robigo or rubigo, i.e. blight. It had begun, no doubt, in times when cultivated 
areas were still found in the heart of Rome, but the custom was retained, following always a 
traditional route, even when Rome had become a great city and the original purpose of the 
ceremony had been lost sight of. To eradicate such popular celebrations is next to impossible, 
and when the people accepted Christianity the popes and their clergy acted wisely in con- 
verting the lustration into a Christian procession, which followed the same well-known route 
and chanted invocations and responses closely corresponding to those now found in our 
Litany of the Saints. 

234 


THE PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY [February 2 

spoken of and denounced by Christian writers. A probable view suggests 
that the plan of eliminating pagan abuses by providing an innocent Christian 
demonstration in their place was directed first against such scenes of licence 
and disorder as the Lupercalia. It may be, then, that this attempt took 
the form of deliberately borrowing from the East the ceremony of the 
Fortieth Day of the Epiphany with its procession and lights, precisely because 
it fell upon the 14th or 15th of February and thus coincided with the objection- 
able pagan celebration which it was desired to suppress. At a later period 
when the Hypapante began to be observed liturgically with Mass and Office 
as a feast of the Blessed Virgin, the inconsistency of keeping the birth of 
Christ on December 25 and the meeting with Simeon on February 15 would 
have forced itself insistently upon notice. Thus the candle procession, the 
memory of the Lupercalia having by this time grown faint, was probably 
transferred to the purification of our Lady on February 2, to which it properly 
belonged. 

There are two or three considerations which point to this conclusion. In 
the first place the earliest mention of a procession with candles comes to us, 
as has already been pointed out, from the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and that 
as early as about a.d. 440. Secondly, we cannot ignore the significance of the 
fact that the earliest references to the Roman celebration speak of it either as 
the Hypapante (its Greek title) or as the feast of St Simeon. It is as the " Natale 
Sti Simeonis " that it is entered in the calendar of St Willibrord as also in 
the Antiphonary of Pamelius, and we find both names in the casual reference 
made to it by the Liber Pontificalis under Pope St Sergius I. Thirdly, we know 
now for certain, thanks to the researches of Dom H. Peillon, that the chants 
which still stand in the Roman Antiphonary and are sung in the Candlemas pro- 
cession are taken bodily from Greek liturgical sources. In the manuscript 
which Dom Peillon has identified as that principally employed by Pamelius 
for his edition of the antiphonary, the anthems " Ave gratia plena " and 
" Adorna thalamum tuum Sion " are written both in Latin and in Greek with 
Latin characters. There can also be little doubt that Dom Peillon is justified in 
regarding this manuscript as a copy of an earlier document which preserves for 
us with substantial fidelity the usage of the Roman church in the second half of 
the eighth century. 

The following conclusions seem warranted : 

1. The celebration of our Lord's presentation in the Temple undoubtedly 
began in Jerusalem about the fourth century and was marked by a procession with 
torches or candles on the Fortieth Day of the Epiphany, February 15. 

2. The observance in the course of the fifth and sixth centuries spread through- 
out the Eastern church. 

3. While still attached to February 15 the procession was adopted at Rome to 
supply a Christian substitute for the Lupercalia. 

4. When the Purification of the Blessed Virgin came to be honoured in the 
West as an element in the Christmas cycle, the procession of the Hypapante, or 
feast of St Simeon, was transferred to its proper day, February 2, forty days after 
December 25, when the birth of our Lord was kept in Rome. 

5. The Venerable Bede, though probably acquainted with what had been said 
by certain writers about an obscure pagan observance, the amburbium, deliberately 
refrained from making reference to it. He was satisfied that the February 

235 


February 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

procession took the place of some kind of pagan lustration. He knew also that the 
Lupercalia had lasted on far into Christian times and that the lustrum represented 
a period of five years, but because exact information was not available he was 
intentionally vague in the statement which he made. 

See AicClure and Feltoe, The Pilgrimage of Etheria, p. 56 ; F. C. Conybeare, Rituale 
Armenorum, pp. 507 seq. ; I. Rahmani, Studia Syriaca, vol. iii, pp. 73-138 ; Theodotus 
of Ancyra in Migne, PC, vol. lxvii, p. 1400 ; Usener, Der hi. Theodosios, p. 106 ; 
Revue Benedictine, vols, xxviii (1916), pp. 301, 313, 323, and xxxiv (1922), p. 15 ; CMH., 
p. 75 ; and the usual reference books. It may be noticed that there is no reason to 
connect the observances of February 2 with the Spanish church, as has been suggested 
by the author of the article on Candlemas in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. 
The data supplied by Dom Ferotin (Liber Ordinum, p. 454 n.) show plainly that in 
the Mozarabic ritual there is practically speaking no trace of such a celebration until the 
eleventh century. 

ST ADALBALD OF OSTREVANT, Martyr (ad. 652) 

Adalbald was a grandson of the St Gertrude who founded the monastery of 
Hamage, and his father, who died early, was called Rigomer ; one of his 
brothers married St Bertha who, upon becoming a widow, built the monastery 
of Blangy in Artois and retired there : St Amand was in close touch with 
the whole family. Adalbald was much at the court of Dagobert I, and would 
appear to have been the ideal of a young Christian noble. He took part in 
several expeditions to quell the insurgent Gascons, and whilst he was in Gascony 
he formed a friendship with a nobleman called Ernold, the hand of whose 
daughter Rictrudis he obtained in marriage. The wedding did not please 
some of the bride's Gascon kinsfolk, but it turned out very happily. Both 
husband and wife spent much time in visiting the sick, relieving the poor and 
even in trying to convert criminals. Moreover, they brought up their children, 
Mauront, Eusebia, Clotsindis and Adalsindis to follow in their footsteps, and 
all four were venerated as saints. 

After some years Adalbald was recalled to Gascony, but when he had reached 
the vicinity of Perigueux he was attacked unawares by some of his wife's relations, 
who were burning to satisfy their hatred, and he succumbed. Rictrudis was 
overcome with grief, but managed to get possession of her husband's body, which 
was buried with due honours. Miracles were said to be worked at his tomb and 
his cultus grew both in his own country and in the Perigord. Adalbald was 
accounted a martyr, because in those days the title was given to all saintly persons 
who died a violent death. Possibly too the motive of religion was not altogether 
absent in a land where there were still many pagans. His bones rested at first in 
the monastery of Elnone, and afterwards his head was taken to Douay — so at least 
we learn from an ancient manuscript of the church of St Ame, where there used 
to be a chapel dedicated in honour of St Mauront and his parents. Their statues 
were long exhibited for public veneration — St Adalbald in a robe covered with lilies 
and holding a book, St Rictrudis in the Benedictine habit and holding the abbey 
of Marchiennes, and St Mauront between them, a sceptre in his right hand and 
towers in his left. 

Our information is mainly derived from Hucbald's Life of St Rictrudis (Acta Sanctorum, 
May, vol. iii) ; and cf. Biographie nationale (de Belgique), vol. i, pp. 18-21 ; and L. van der 
Essen, Etude sur les Vitae des saints merov. . . . (1907), pp. 260-267. 

236 


ST JOAN DE LESTONNAC [February 2 

THE MARTYRS OF EBSDORF (ad. 880) 

The winter of 880 was one of such extreme severity that the Rhine and the Main 
were frozen hard. The young king Louis III, who had spent Christmas at Frank- 
furt, had great difficulties in contending with incursions of Northmen, who were 
forming settlements on the Scheldt and pressing south. An army under Duke 
Bruno, the queen's brother, was caught on the heath of Liineburg at Ebsdorf in 
Saxony and hemmed in by melting ice and snow. The pagan Northmen de- 
scended upon them where there was no place to give battle and utterly overwhelmed 
them, killing Bruno, together with Theodoric, or Dietrich, the saintly old bishop of 
Minden, and Bishop Marquard of Hildesheim, as well as eleven nobles and fourteen 
of the king's bodyguard and their attendants. The rest of the army were either 
driven into the swamps and drowned or taken prisoners. Some of the accounts 
say that two other bishops, Erlulf of Werden and Gosbert of Osnabruck, were 
among those massacred, but they were actually martyred at an earlier date. Other 
records give seven martyred bishops, but. the whole episode has been so much 
mixed up with legend that it is impossible to arrive at any certainty. The relics 
of the martyrs were regarded with the greatest veneration in the church of the 
Benedictine abbey which was subsequently erected on this spot. 

See J. E. Stadler, Heiligen-Lexikon, vol. v, pp. 460 seq. 

ST JOAN DE LESTONNAC, Widow, Foundress of the Religious 
of Notre Dame of Bordeaux (a.d. 1640) 

Joan de Lestonnac's father belonged to a distinguished Bordelais family and, at 
a time when Calvinism was flourishing in Bordeaux, was a good Catholic — her 
mother, Joan Eyquem de Montaigne, sister of the famous Michael de Montaigne, 
apostatized. She tried to tamper with her child's faith, and when her endeavours 
failed Joan was ill-treated. These troubles turned her heart to God and made her 
long for a life of prayer and mortification. However, when she was seventeen she 
married Gaston de Montferrant, who was related to the royal houses of France, 
Aragon and Navarre. The marriage was a very happy one, but her husband died 
in 1597, leaving her with four children to whom she devoted herself till they were 
old enough to do without her. Two daughters eventually became nuns. At the 
age of forty-seven Joan de Lestonnac entered the Cistercian monastery of Les 
Feuillantes at Toulouse. This step was violently opposed by her son, and she 
herself was heartbroken at leaving her youngest daughter, who married only some 
years later. 

Mme de Lestonnac, now become Sister Joan, spent six months in the Cistercian 
novitiate, giving great edification. But the life was too hard for her, and at the end 
of that time her health completely broke down ; though she implored to be allowed 
to remain in the convent to die, her superiors decided that such a valuable life must 
be preserved for the service of God. Before leaving she was allowed to spend a 
night in prayer in the chapel, and as she prayed, " Lord, if it be possible, let this 
chalice pass from me," the assurance was granted her that she was to found a new 
order for the salvation of souls, and the outline of the future Congregation of Notre 
Dame came before her mind. 

Her health recovered almost miraculously as soon as she left Les Feuillantes. 
She returned to Bordeaux and visited Perigord, where she gathered round her. 

237 


February 2] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

several young girls who were eventually to be her first novices. She then spent 
two quiet years in her country place, La Mothe, preparing for her great work. We 
find her again in Bordeaux, where her directors advised her to content herself with 
an ordinary life devoted to works of charity. Bordeaux being visited by the plague, 
Mme de Lestonnac and a band of brave women gave themselves to nursing the 
victims. She now came under the influence of two Jesuits, Father de Bordes and 
Father Raymond, who fully realized the devastation which Calvinism was working 
amongst young girls of all classes who were deprived of Catholic education. To 
both these priests the assurance was given simultaneously, whilst they were cele- 
brating Mass, that it was the will of God they should assist in founding an order 
to counteract the evils of the surrounding heresy and that Mme de Lestonnac 
should be the first superior. Thus the work began, and it grew rapidly. The 
infant congregation was affiliated to the Order of St Benedict, though its rule and 
constitutions were founded on those of St Ignatius, and the first house was opened 
in the old priory of the Holy Ghost at Bordeaux. 

Mme de Lestonnac and her companions received the habit from Cardinal de 
Sourdis, Archbishop of Bordeaux, in 1608. After Mme de Lestonnac had been 
elected superior in 1610, subjects came rapidly. They were carefully taught the 
religious life — their aim and object being the training and teaching of young girls 
of all classes. The schools prospered beyond all expectation. Foundations were 
made in many towns, Perigueux being the earliest. The nuns lived lives of great 
poverty and mortification, and all seemed peaceful and happy when suddenly cruel 
trials fell on the foundress. One of her nuns, Blanche Herve, and the director of 
one of the houses conspired against her, and for a time their ill-considered designs 
succeeded. They invented discreditable stories about her and, most surprising of 
all, Cardinal de Sourdis believed them. Mother de Lestonnac was deposed and 
Blanche Herve elected superior. Blanche then treated Mother de Lestonnac most 
cruelly, insulting her in every possible way — even ill-treating her with physical 
violence. This state of things lasted for some time, but at last Blanche's heart was 
touched by St Joan's unalterable patience and she repented. As Mother de 
Lestonnac was now an old woman she did not wish to be reinstated as superior, and 
Mother de Badiffe was elected. 

The last few years of the foundress were spent in retirement and preparation 
for death. She passed away just after her nuns had renewed their vows, on the 
feast of the Purification 1640. We are told that her body remained fresh and supple, 
exhaling a sweet fragrance for days after her death, and that the crowds who prayed 
beside her testified to the beauty of her countenance. Many also noticed a brilliant 
light surrounding the bier. In the following years a number of miracles occurred 
at her tomb. For various reasons the cause of her beatification was delayed, and 
then came the Revolution. The nuns were scattered and the body of their foun- 
dress lost. In the beginning of the nineteenth century it was found again and 
reinterred with much solemnity at Bordeaux. At last, greatly through the exertions 
of Mother Duterrail, the cause was introduced at Rome, and Joan de Lestonnac 
was eventually canonized in 1949. 

See Duprat, La digne Fille de Marie : la b. Jeanne de Lestonnac (1906) ; Father Mercier, 
La ven. Jeanne de Lestonnac (1891) ; and Paula Hoesl, Ste Jeanne de Lestonnac (1949). The 
last has been translated into English under the title In the Service of Youth (1951). It must 
be remembered, of course, that the number of religious congregations bearing the title of 
44 Notre Dame " is considerable and there is danger of confusion. 

238 


ST BLAISE [February 3 


O • ST BLAISE, Bishop of Sebastea, Martyr (a.d. 316 ?) 

THERE seems to be no evidence earlier than the eighth century for the 
cultus of St Blaise, but the accounts furnished at a later date agree in stating 
that he was bishop of Sebastea in Armenia and that he was crowned with 
martyrdom in the persecution of Licinius by command of Agricolaus, governor 
of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia. It is mentioned in the legendary acts 
of St Eustratius, who is said to have perished in the reign of Diocletian, that 
St Blaise honourably received his relics, deposited them with those of St 
Orestes, and punctually executed every article of the last will and testament of 
St Eustratius. 

This is all which can be affirmed with any faint probability concerning St Blaise, 
but in view of the honour in which he is held in Germany and France a few words 
may be said of the story contained in his legendary acts. According to these he 
was born of rich and noble parents, receiving a Christian education and being made 
a bishop while still quite young. When persecution arose, he withdrew by divine 
direction to a cave in the mountains which was frequented only by wild beasts. 
These he healed when they were sick or wounded, and they used to come round 
him to receive his blessing. Hunters, who had been sent to secure animals for the 
amphitheatre, found the saint surrounded by the beasts, and, though greatly 
amazed, they seized him and took him to Agricolaus. On their way they met a poor 
woman whose pig had been carried off by a wolf ; at the command of St Blaise, the 
wolf restored the pig unhurt. The incident is worth mentioning because of a 
ceremony which arose in connection with it. On another occasion a woman 
brought to him a little boy who was at the point of death owing to a fishbone in his 
throat, and the saint healed him. On account of this and other similar cures St 
Blaise has been invoked during many centuries past for all kinds of throat trouble. 
The governor ordered him to be scourged and deprived of food, but the woman 
whose pig had been restored brought provisions to him and also tapers to dispel 
the darkness of his gloomy prison. Then Licinius tortured him by tearing his 
flesh with iron combs, and afterwards had him beheaded. 

In course of time many alleged relics of St Blaise were brought to the West, 
and his cultus was propagated by the rumour of miraculous cures. He is the patron 
saint of woolcombers, of wild animals and of all who suffer from affections of the 
throat. He is moreover famous in Germany as one of the fourteen Nothhelfer 
(helpers in need). In many places a blessing is given on the day of his feast or to 
individual sufferers at other times. Two candles (said to be in memory of the 
tapers brought to the saint in his dungeon) are blessed and held like a St Andrew's 
cross either against the throat or over the head of the applicant, with the words 
Per inter cessionem Sancti Blasii liber et te Deus a malo gutturis et a quovis alio malo. 
We also read of " the water of St Blaise ", which is blessed in his honour, and is 
commonly given to cattle that are sickly. 

The so-called Acts of St Blaise are indicated in BHL., nn. 1370-1380, and BHG., p. 21. 
Cf. the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i, and Detzel, Christliche Ikonographie, ii, 2 and 9. 
A. Franz, Die Kirchlichen Benediktionen im Mittelalter, vol. i, pp. 202-206, gives several 
formulas and much other information about the blessings of St Blaise. For the eighteenth- 
century commemoration of the saint by the Norwich woolcombers, see Parson Woodforde's 
Diary, the one-volume edition (1935), pp. 198-200. 

239 


February 3] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

ST LAURENCE, Bishop of Spoleto (a.d. 576) 

St Laurence was one of a party of three hundred who, being forced to leave Syria 
in 514 when Severus, the heretical patriarch of Antioch, was persecuting the 
Catholics, determined to settle in Italy. They came to Rome, and Pope St 
Hormisdas ordained some of them who were not already priests, Laurence amongst 
the number. He was sent to preach in Umbria, where his fervent eloquence caused 
many conversions and where he successfully opposed the Arian heresy then rampant 
in Italy. Afterwards he retired into a monastery which he founded near Spoleto. 
The bishopric of that city falling vacant, the clergy chose Laurence, much against 
his will ; the townspeople, however, objected to having a foreigner and shut the 
gates of the city against him. Thereupon the saint prayed aloud that God would 
indicate His will in the matter. Immediately the gates flew open, and the people, 
hailing this as a miracle, received him in honour. He laboured strenuously among 
them, setting an example by his devotion and charity and settling feuds and quarrels 
wherever he went. For this reason the pope sent him to Bologna, which was rent 
by contending factions, and he succeeded in establishing peace. He was called 
" the Enlightener " because he was so full of divine light that he seemed endowed 
with a special gift which enabled him to heal blindness — both physical and spiritual. 
After twenty years he obtained permission to resign his office, and he founded the 
monastery of Farfa, of which he became abbot and in which he died. 

See the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i, pp. 361-365, and 958-959 ; cf. also July, 
vol. i, pp. 28-35, and DCB., vol. iii, p. 631. 

ST IA, Virgin (Sixth Century) 

Although our knowledge of this saint rests upon nothing better than vague 
medieval legends, still it seems worth while to point out that the patron saint 
honoured at Saint Ives in Cornwall is entirely different from the supposed Persian 
bishop from whom Saint Ives in Huntingdonshire is believed to derive its name. 

la was said to be an Irish maiden who intended to join a company of emigrants, 
SS. Gwinear, Piala and others, to west Britain. Upon arrival at the embarking- 
place she found they had sailed without her, and in great grief she prayed to God 
for help. As she did so she noticed a leaf floating on the water, and she touched it 
with her staff to see if it would sink. Instead, it began to grow, bigger and bigger, 
till it became large enough to accommodate her. She saw then that it was the 
answer to her prayer ; putting her trust in God, she embarked on it, and was safely 
floated across the sea, reaching land before the others. 

These others came ashore in the Hayle estuary in Cornwall ; la landed a little 
farther to the north-west, where she built herself a hermitage and lived for the rest 
of her life. The spot came to be called Porth la, but since the sixteenth century 
has been known as Saint Ives. 

It is possible that this story at least represents a tradition of two different 
immigrations, of which St la belonged to the earlier. William of Worcester in the 
fifteenth century and Leland in the sixteenth report local traditions connecting her 
with St Erth, St Uny and St Breaca, all Irish, who with St Gwinear are well known 
in the church-dedications and place-names of west Cornwall. Canon Doble thinks 
it unlikely that these saints really came from Ireland, and Joseph Loth pointed out 
that Gwinear is a British name. Wales seems more probable. 

240 


ST WERBURGA [February 3 

St la herself is well commemorated in local names, including a holy well called 
Venton la. She is the co-titular of Saint Ives Catholic church. 

The earliest reference to St la is in the thirteenth-century Vita Guigneri (Gwinear, 
Fingar) in the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. iii, pp. 456-459. She is discussed by Gould 
and Fisher in LBS., vol. iii, pp. 267-269 ; but more scientifically and no less interestingly 
by Canon Doble in the booklet St Ives : its Patron Saint and Church (1939). See also his 
St Gwinear. Dr Henry Jenner suggested that the leaf story had its rise in the wicker and 
hide coracle ; cf. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 891. 

ST LAURENCE, Archbishop of Canterbury (a.d. 619) 

Laurence was a priest who accompanied St Augustine to England in the year 597 
and who, after acting as his envoy to obtain fuller instructions from Pope St 
Gregory the Great, returned to become Augustine's immediate successor in the 
see of Canterbury, which he occupied for eleven years. Like Augustine he 
endeavoured, and failed, to induce the Britons of the West and the Irish to adopt 
Roman disciplinary practices. When on King Ethelbert's death his son Edbald 
refused to follow his father's example in embracing Christianity, and gave himself 
up to idolatry and incest — taking to himself his father's widow — Laurence, who had 
laboured hard for his conversion, meditated retiring to France, as the bishops St 
Mellitus and St Justus had already done. However, on the eve of his departure, 
St Peter in a dream reproached him for designing to forsake that flock for which 
Christ had laid down His life. Not only did this prevent St Laurence from 
executing his purpose, but it had such an effect on the king (who was naturally 
impressed by the sight of the scars of the stripes inflicted on Laurence by the 
indignant apostle) that he became a Christian. St Laurence did not long survive 
this happy change, dying in 619. When his tomb was first opened in 1091, "a 
mighty blast of fragrance " swept through the whole monastery of St Augustine. 
His feast is kept in the dioceses of Westminster and Southwark. 

St Laurence is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. We know little about him 
beyond what is found in Bede, Hist. Eccles., bk ii, cc. 4, 6 and 7. William of Malmesbury, 
Gesta Pontificum (Rolls Series), pp. 5, 6 etc., refers to the life by Goscelin. Two manuscripts 
of this are still preserved, as Hardy records, Catalogue of British History, II, i, 217-218. 
The tomb of St Laurence has of late years been reopened, but the bodies of all the early 
archbishops were translated by Abbot Wido in 1091 to a place of greater honour. A full 
account of the excavations was given by Sir William St John Hope in Archaeologia, vol. lxvi, 
PP- 377~4°°> with plans and photographs. 

ST WERBURGA, Virgin (c. a.d. 700) 

St Werburga (properly Werburh) was the daughter of Wulfhere, King of Mercia, 
and St Ermenilda, and so grand-daughter of St Sexburga and great-niece of St 
Etheldreda. Her beauty and good qualities brought her offers of marriage, but 
she refused them all, saying that she had chosen the Lord Jesus for her spouse. 
Legend states, but the story is quite unreliable, that her greatest victory was over 
the attempts of Werbod, a nobleman of her father's court. The king, it is said, was 
very fond of this man, and Werbod made use of his interest to try to obtain from 
Wulfhere the hand of Werburga in marriage. The king agreed on condition he 
could gain the maiden's own consent also. Queen Ermenilda and her sons Wulfhad 
and Ruffin were grieved at the news. The two princes were in the habit of resorting 
to St Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, under pretext of going hunting ; for the saint lived 

241 


February 3] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

at a hermitage in the forest, and it was by him that they were instructed and bap- 
tized. Werbod, who found them an obstacle to his plans, is said to have contrived 
their murder, for he showed Wulfhere the princes returning from the bishop, and 
so incensed him against them by slanders that the king ordered them to be put to 
death — partly on religious grounds, for he had been prevailed upon by Werbod to 
countenance and favour idolatry. Werbod, however, soon after died miserably, 
and Wulfhere no sooner heard that the murder had been perpetrated than he was 
stung with remorse, did great penance, and submitted himself to the guidance of 
his queen and of St Chad. 

Werburga, finding him so much changed, no longer feared to tell him of her 
desire to be a nun, and she pleaded her cause so earnestly that her request was 
granted. Wulfhere conducted her in state to Ely, where they were met at the 
convent gate by the abbess St Etheldreda and her religious, singing hymns 
to God. Werburga, falling on her knees, begged to be admitted and joyfully 
exchanged her royal robes for a coarse habit. King Wulfhere dying in 675, his 
brother Ethelred succeeded him, and St Werburga, at the persuasion of her uncle, 
left Ely, to charge herself with the superintendence of all the houses of religious 
women in his kingdom, that she might establish them in the observance of the most 
exact monastic discipline. 

Werburga seems to have spent part of her time at a royal house at Weedon in 
Northamptonshire, which perhaps she turned into a nunnery. Other convents in 
her care were at Hanbury in Staffordshire and at " Tricengeham ". This last was 
probably Threckingham in Kesteven, and here it was that St Werburga died on a 
February 3, most likely between 700 and 707. She was buried by her own wish 
at Hanbury, but by the end of the tenth century her relics were at Chester (per- 
haps removed thither, as tradition affirms, during the Danish invasions), where 
throughout the later middle ages her shrine in the cathedral was a place of 
pilgrimage. St Werburga's feast is now observed in the dioceses of Birmingham 
and Shrewsbury. 

Much of the detail given above is of very doubtful authenticity, being based upon the 
biography of St Werburga written by Goscelin, who lived 400 years after her time. See 
the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i, pp. 391-394 ; cf. also the Liber Eliensis, i, ch. 17, 24, 
36, 37, and the Chronicon ex Chronicis of Florence of Worcester (ed. Thorpe), vol. i, p. 32. 
But the most valuable discussion of her life from a historical point of view is that of 
Profesor James Tait in the preface to his edition of the Chartulary or Register of the 
Abbey of St Werburgh, Chester (1920), pp. vii to xiv. See also the life of Wulfhad and Ruffin 
printed by Fr P. Grosjean in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lviii (1940). 

ST ANSKAR, Archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen (a.d. 865) 

Anskar was born about 801 of a noble family not far from Amiens, and was sent to 
acquire learning at the neighbouring monastery of Old Corbie in Picardy, where 
a near relation of the Emperor Charlemagne loved him greatly and Paschasius 
Radbertus is said to have been his tutor. A vision he had of the Blessed Virgin 
and of the death of the Emperor Charlemagne so impressed him that he lost 
all youthful gaiety and thought only of preaching to the heathen as the nearest 
road to martyrdom. He became a monk, first at Old Corbie and afterwards at 
New Corbie (Corvey) in Westphalia, where he first engaged in pastoral work. 
Harold, King of Denmark, as a fugitive from his country, had been baptized at the 
court of Louis the Debonair. When he was about to return to his kingdom he 

242 


ST MARGARET " OF ENGLAND " [February 3 

took Anskar with him, as well as the monk Autbert, to convert the Danes. They 
were very successful, winning many to the faith and starting a school, probably at 
Hedeby. At the invitation of Bjorn, King of Sweden, Anskar then went with 
several others to spread the gospel there. In 83 1 King Louis named him abbot of 
New Corbie and first archbishop of Hamburg, to which Pope Gregory IV added 
the dignity of legate of the Holy See to the northern peoples. There he worked 
for thirteen years, organizing the missions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden as 
well as in North Germany, building churches and founding a library. 

A great incursion of heathen Northmen in 845 destroyed Hamburg, whereupon 
Sweden and Denmark relapsed into idolatry. Anskar still supported his desolate 
churches in Germany until the see of Bremen becoming vacant, Pope St Nicholas I 
eventually united it with Hamburg and appointed Anskar over both. He returned 
to Denmark and his presence soon made the faith revive. In Sweden the super- 
stitious King Olaf cast lots as to whether the Christian missionaries should be 
admitted or not. The saint grieved to see the cause of religion treated with such 
levity, and recommended the issue to the care of God. The lot proved favourable, 
and the bishop established many churches, which he left under zealous pastors 
before his return to Bremen. 

St Anskar had an extraordinary talent for preaching, and his charity to the poor 
knew no bounds ; he washed their feet and waited upon them at table. When 
one of his disciples was loudly vaunting the miracles which the saint had wrought, 
Anskar rebuked him by saying, " Were I worthy of such a favour from my God, 
I would ask that He would grant to me this one miracle, that by His grace He 
would make of me a good man ". He wore a rough hair shirt and, whilst his 
health permitted it, lived on bread and water. As a stimulus to devotion he made a 
collection of short prayers, one or other of which he placed at the end of each psalm. 
Insertions of this kind may be found in many old manuscript psalters. He died at 
Bremen in the sixty-seventh year of his life and the thirty-fourth of his prelacy, and 
the whole North bewailed him. But although St Anskar was the first to preach 
the gospel in Sweden, it relapsed entirely into paganism after his death. The con- 
version of the country was due to St Sigfrid and other missionaries in the eleventh 
century. 

The materials for Anskar's life, owing no doubt to the very great veneration in which 
he was held, are exceptionally abundant. There is above all the Vita Anskarii by his fellow 
missionary and successor in the episcopate, St Rembert. It has been printed in a handy 
edition by G. Waitz in the series of Scriptores rerum Germanic arum , and an English translation 
with useful notes and bibliography by Dr C. H. Robinson was published in 1921. Prof. 
Hauck, in his Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, vol. ii, speaks enthusiastically of Anskar. See 
L. Bril in the Revue d'histoire ecclesiastique, vol. xii (191 1), pp. 17-37, 231-241 ; E. de 
Moreau, St Anschaire missionnaire . . . (1930) ; P. Oppenheim, Der hi. Ansgar (193 1) ; 
and C. J. A. Opperman, English Missionaries in Sweden (1937), pp. 38-45. But on this 
last work see Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lvii (1939), pp. 162-164. And cf. Fliche and Martin, 
Histoire de l y £glise y vol. vi, pp. 249-253, 447-450. 

ST MARGARET " OF ENGLAND ", Virgin (ad. 1192) 

The shrine containing the body of St Margaret, which was the glory of the 
church of the Cistercian nuns of Seauve Benite, in the diocese of Puy-en-Velay, was 
formerly much resorted to by the whole countryside. The old edition of Gallia 
Christiana and Dom Beaunier, the Maurist monk, confirm the local tradition that 
she was an Englishwoman and that her resting-place was famous for miracles. On 

243 


February 3] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

the other hand, she is described as being by birth a noble Hungarian in an old 
French biography, a manuscript copy of which was preserved by the Jesuit College 
of Clermont at Paris. Her mother, who was probably at least of English extraction, 
took her on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and they both led a very penitential life, first 
in that city and afterwards at Bethlehem. After St Margaret had buried her mother 
in the Holy Land, she made a pilgrimage to Montserrat in Spain and afterwards to 
our Lady's shrine at Puy. Then she retired to the Cistercian nunnery of Seauve 
Benite where she ended her days. 

See Gallia Christiana Nova, in Dicec, Aniciensi seu Podiensi, vol. ii, p. 777, and cf. Theilliere, 
Notes historiques sur le monastere de la Seauve- Benite (1872). 

BD SIMON OF CASCIA (ad. 1348) 

The name of Simon Fidati has attracted much attention on account of a problem 
of literary authorship. Certain ascetical writings in the purest Tuscan of the 
trecento, which were traditionally attributed to Dominic Cavalca, o.P., have been 
claimed on the ground of internal evidence as the work of his Augustinian contem- 
porary, this Simon. The case is by no means clear. No manuscript attestation 
supports it, and even the champions of Fidati have to suppose that if he supplied 
the ideas in Latin, his disciple and biographer, John of Salerno, gave them their 
present form by re-editing them in the speech of the people. Still more remarkable 
is the contention advanced by A. V. Muller that many of the most distinctive tenets 
in Luther's teaching were derived from Fidati's published volume De gestis Domini 
Salvatoris. The book had been first printed at Strassburg in 1480, and being the 
work of a fellow Augustinian is extremely likely to have come into Luther's hands. 
It certainly must be admitted that Bd Simon held some theological views which 
were at least incautiously expressed, and which readily lent themselves to misinter- 
pretation. Further, it is clear even from the short biography of his devoted disciple 
John of Salerno, already mentioned, that Fidati was much criticized by his con- 
temporaries and that some did not even hesitate to call him a hypocrite. 

We know little of the details of his life. Even the summary submitted to the 
Congregation of Rites when a confirmatio cultus was petitioned for in 1833 had to 
confine itself for the most part to the vaguest generalities. He must have been 
born about 1295, at Cascia in Umbria, and is said in early youth to have come under 
the influence of Angelo Clareno, whose intransigent spirit he seems to have shared. 
He joined the Augustinian friars, and the period of his studies must have been brief, 
for his career as a preacher began about 13 18. There can be no question that he 
possessed very remarkable gifts both of nature and grace. His biographer recounts 
how when Simon was producing his great work De gestis Domini he had watched 
him write folio after folio without a pause, just as one would scribble a letter to a 
friend. In the early years of his preaching his life had been extremely austere, but 
he found it necessary as he grew older to be more discreet in his bodily mortifica- 
tions. It is stated that he preached as a rule absolutely without preparation, leaving 
it to the Spirit of God to inspire him what to say. This, however, was certainly 
not due to any shirking of labour, but in large measure to the fact that when he was 
engaged upon some great preaching mission he would have as many as thirty or even 
forty letters to write to penitents and others at a single sitting, and this work took him 
the best part of the night. John of Salerno, who was his daily companion for seven- 
teen years, tells us all this with an earnestness which brings conviction of its truth. 

244 


BD STEPHEN BELLESINI [February 3 

Simon was fearless in reproving offenders, and treated many even of those who 
sought his friendship with uncompromising harshness, but the curious effect, says 
his biographer, was that in many cases he only drew them to him the more. He 
was like a magnet among iron filings. He contrived to evade every post of authority 
within his order or outside of it, and when a certain intimate and influential friend 
got him nominated to an episcopal see, he treated him with such sternness that the 
other never dared to mention the subject again. With all his success as a preacher, 
and as a man who played a part in the public life of Perugia, Florence and Siena, 
Bd Simon's own preference was for a life of solitude spent in prayer and among his 
books. Outside of this his special interest seems to have centred in rescuing fallen 
women, for whom he founded a house of refuge, and in protecting young girls, for 
whom a similar establishment was provided as the fruit of his charitable exertions. 
He seems to have died in Florence, though the place is not quite certain, on February 
2, 1348. 

The only materials of any value for the life of Bd Simon are those contained in the volume 
of Fr Nicola Mattioli, II b. Simone Fidati da Cascia (1898). He prints a number of Fidati's 
letters, as well as the biography by John of Cremona. The compiler of the summary printed 
for the Congregation of Rites in 1833 seems to have been very imperfectly acquainted with 
the facts of his history. Cf. also A. d'Ancona and O. Bacci, Manuale delta letteratura italiana 
(1904), vol. i, pp. 405-407 ; and A. V. Miiller, Una Fonte ignota del sistema di Lutero (1921). 

BD JOHN NELSON, Martyr (a.d. 1578) 

John Nelson was the son of Sir N. Nelson of Skelton in Yorkshire. At the age 
of forty, hearing of the college of Douay and hoping to be able to serve his country, 
he went to study there and was ordained priest in 1576. The same year he was 
sent upon the English mission and was apprehended in London on suspicion of 
being a Catholic and imprisoned. He was tried and condemned for refusing to 
take the oath of Queen Elizabeth's supremacy. He was drawn on a hurdle from 
Newgate to Tyburn, where he was hanged, disembowelled and quartered. Father 
Nelson had been admitted into the Society of Jesus shortly before his arrest. 

See MMP., pp. 7-11 ; and Camm, LEM., vol. ii, pp. 223-233. 

BD STEPHEN BELLESINI (a.d. 1840) 

No very outstanding achievement marks the life of this fervent and modest religious. 
He was born at Trent on November 25, 1774, and in 1790 at the age of sixteen 
entered the Order of Hermits of St Augustine. After being sent to make his studies 
at Rome and at Bologna he was constrained when the Revolution broke out to 
return to his native city. Soon, however, the Augustinian community was dis- 
persed, and Stephen then devoted himself with characteristic vigour and conscien- 
tiousness to the work of preaching and especially to the religious instruction of 
children. As a result he was shortly afterwards constituted by government 
appointment inspector of all the schools in the Trentino, discharging his duties so 
much to the satisfaction of the officials that, when the Augustinian Order was 
restored to community life in the Papal States and Stephen insisted upon rejoining 
his religious brethren at Bologna, strong opposition was raised to his departure. 
In spite of threats of violence he carried out his purpose, and was made master of 
novices first at Rome and afterwards at Citta della Pieve. After some years he 
passed to the famous Augustinian church at Genazzano, near Palestrina, the shrine 

245 


February 4] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

of our Lady of Good Counsel, where he became parish priest. In attending the 
sick during an epidemic of cholera he was himself stricken down, dying on February 
2, 1840. Bd Stephen was beatified in 1904. 

Two lives were published shortly after the beatification, both based upon the documents 
of the process — Billeri, Vita del b. Stefano Bellesini (1904) and Weber, Breve vita del b. 
Stefano Bellesini (1904). The former prints more extracts from Bd Stephen's letters. 


4 • ST ANDREW CORSINI, Bishop of Fiesole (a.d. 1373) 

THIS saint was called Andrew after the apostle of that name, upon whose 
festival he was born in Florence in 1302. He came of the distinguished 
family of the Corsini, and we are told that his parents dedicated him to God 
before his birth ; but in spite of all their care the first part of his youth was spent 
in vice and extravagance, amongst bad companions. His mother never ceased 
praying for his conversion, and one day in the bitterness of her grief she said, " I see 
you are indeed the wolf I saw in my sleep,' ' and explained that before he was born 
she dreamt she had given birth to a wolf which ran into a church and was changed 
into a lamb. She added that she and his father had devoted him to the service of 
God under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, and that they expected of him a 
very different sort of life from that which he was leading. These rebukes made a 
very deep impression. Overwhelmed with shame, Andrew next day went to the 
church of the Carmelite friars, and after having prayed fervently before the altar 
of our Lady he was so touched by God's grace that he resolved to embrace the 
religious life in that convent. All the artifices of his former companions, and the 
solicitations of an uncle who tried to draw him back into the world, were powerless 
to change his purpose : he never fell away from the first fervour of his conversion. 
In the year 1328 Andrew was ordained ; but to escape the feasting and music 
which his family had prepared according to custom for the day on which he should 
celebrate his first Mass, he withdrew to a little convent seven miles out of the town, 
and there, unknown and with wonderful devotion, he offered to Almighty God the 
firstfruits of his priesthood. After some time employed in preaching in Florence he 
was sent to Paris, where he attended the schools for three years. He continued his 
studies for a while at Avignon with his uncle, Cardinal Corsini, and in 1332, when 
he returned to Florence, he was chosen prior of his convent. God honoured his 
virtue with the gift of prophecy, and miracles of healing were also ascribed to him. 
Amongst miracles in the moral order- and conquests of hardened souls, the conver- 
sion of his cousin John Corsini, a confirmed gambler, was especially remarkable. 
When the bishop of Fiesole died in 1349 tne chapter unanimously chose Andrew 
Corsini to fill the vacant see. As soon, however, as he was informed of what was 
going on, he hid himself with the Carthusians at Enna : the canons, despairing of 
finding him, were about to proceed to a second election when his hiding-place was 
revealed by a child. After his consecration as bishop he redoubled his former 
austerities. Daily he gave himself a severe discipline whilst he recited the litany, 
and his bed was of vine branches strewed on the floor. Meditation and reading the 
Holy Scriptures he called recreation from his labours. He avoided talking with 
women as much as possible, and refused to listen to flatterers or informers. His 
tenderness and care for the poor were extreme, and he was particularly solicitous in 
seeking out those who were ashamed to make known their distress : these he helped 

246 


ST THEOPHILUS THE PENITENT [February 4 

with all possible secrecy. St Andrew had, too, a talent for appeasing quarrels, and 
he was often successful in restoring order where popular disturbances had broken 
out. For this reason Bd Urban V sent him to Bologna, where the nobility and the 
people were miserably divided. He pacified them after suffering much humiliation, 
and they remained at peace during the rest of his life. Every Thursday he used to 
wash the feet of the poor, and never turned any beggar away without an alms. 

St Andrew was taken ill whilst singing Mass on Christmas night in 1373 and 
died on the following Epiphany at the age of seventy-one. He was immediately 
proclaimed a saint by the voice of the people, and Pope Urban VIII formally 
canonized him in 1629. Andrew was buried in the Carmelite church at Florence ; 
and Pope Clement XII, who belonged to the Corsini family, built and endowed a 
chapel in honour of his kinsman in the Lateran basilica. The architect of this 
chapel, in which Clement himself was buried, was Alexander Galilei, who lived 
for some years in England. The same pope added St Andrew Corsini to the 
general calendar of the Western church, in 1737. 

The two principal Latin lives of St Andrew are printed in the Acta Sanctorum, January, 
vol. ii. See also S. Mattel, Vita di S. Andrea Corsini (1872), and the biography by P. Caioli 
(1929), who makes use of certain unpublished Florentine documents. 

ST THEOPHILUS THE PENITENT (No Date) 

Although the legend of St Theophilus must almost certainly be regarded as pure 
romance, still it is seriously discussed in the Acta Sanctorum, and as an early 
example of a type of devil-pact story, which was firmly believed and had an enor- 
mous vogue in later ages, it claims a brief notice here. 

Theophilus is described as oeconomus — let us say " administrator " — of the 
church of Adana in Cilicia, a humble, earnest man, who on being chosen bishop 
declined the honour, preferring to remain in his subordinate station. On his refusal 
of the bishopric a stranger was appointed to the see, and he, through the subtle 
machinations of the Devil, without any reason deposed Theophilus from his office. 
The injustice rankled, and the sufferer, brooding over his wrongs, was finally led on 
to a complete recoil from all his former good practices. Bent at all costs upon 
procuring his reinstatement, he consulted a Jewish sorcerer, by whom he was 
brought into personal communication with Satan. The Devil exacted from him a 
repudiation of Christ and His holy Mother, duly signed and sealed ; and on the 
fulfilment of this condition the bishop, by some diabolic spell, was induced to lay 
aside his prejudices and to restore the former administrator to his office. But when 
he had attained his purpose, Theophilus's remembrance of what he had done left 
him no peace. Eventually he did forty days* penance in the church of our Lady, 
humbly beseeching her intercession, and she, after administering a severe rebuke, 
prevailed with her Son to show mercy to the offender. After his fasts had been 
still further prolonged she appeared to Theophilus again in a vision during his sleep, 
and when he woke he found that the pact which he had signed was lying on his 
breast. Thereupon, prompted by gratitude and a wish to proclaim to all the world 
the compassion of the Mother of Mercy, he made public confession before the 
bishop in church of all that had happened, and the pact was burnt by the bishop's 
own hand in the sight of the people. 

It is stated that this legend was committed to writing in Greek by one Eutychian, who 
professed to have been born in Theophilus's own house. See the Acta Sanctorum, February, 

247 


February 4] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

vol. i. It was translated into Latin by Paul the Deacon in the ninth century, and since 
then the story has been told again and again with slight variations. Roswitha, the nun of 
Gandersheim (c. 980), produced a Latin metrical version (Migne, PL., vol. cxxxvii, c. 1101). 
It is found in all the great collections of " Marienlegenden " (see Mussafia's " Studien " in 
the Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Academy, 1887, 1888, etc., and H. S. D. Ward, Catalogue 
of Romances in the British Museum, vol. ii, pp. 595 seq.) and in nearly all European languages. 

ST PHILEAS, Bishop of Thmuis, Martyr (a.d. 304) 

Phileas was of Thmuis in Egypt and a learned and eloquent man. After being 
converted to the faith, he was chosen bishop in his city, but was apprehended and 
carried prisoner to Alexandria by the persecutors. Eusebius has preserved part of 
a letter which he wrote in his dungeon, and sent to his flock to comfort and en- 
courage them. Describing the sufferings of his fellow confessors at Alexandria, he 
says that everyone had full liberty to insult, strike and beat them. Culcian was 
then governor of Egypt under Maximinus. We have a long account of the trial 
of St Phileas before him, said to have been extracted from the court registers. 

After many other questions Culcian asked, " Was Christ God ? " The saint 
answered, " Yes," and cited His miracles as a proof. The governor expressed great 
regard for Phileas, and said, " If you were a poor man you would be dispatched 
without more ado ; but you have sufficient not only for yourself and your family, 
but almost for the maintenance of a province. I pity you with all my heart, and 
will do my best to save you." The counsellors and lawyers, who also wished to 
save him, declared that he had already sacrificed in the Phrontisterium, the Academy 
of Literature. Phileas replied, " I have not done so by any immolation, but if you 
say merely that I have sacrificed, you say no more than the truth." (As he had been 
confined there for some time, he had probably celebrated the Holy Mysteries.) 
His wife, children, and other relations were present at the trial, and the governor, 
hoping to overcome him by his affection for them, said, " See how sorrowfully your 
wife stands there watching you." Phileas replied, " Jesus Christ, the Saviour of 
souls, calls me to His glory. He can also, if He pleases, call my wife." The 
counsellors out of compassion said to the judge, " Phileas asks for a delay ". Cul- 
cian answered, " I grant it willingly that you may think over what to do ". Phileas 
said, " I have considered, and it is my unchangeable determination to die for Jesus 
Christ ". 

Then the counsellors, the chief magistrate and his relations besought him to 
have compassion on his family and not to abandon his children while they were so 
young and required his care. But he stood unmoved and, raising up his heart to 
God, protested that he owned no other kindred than the apostles and martyrs. 
One of those present was a Christian called Philoromus, a tribune and the emperor's 
treasurer in Alexandria, so that he had his tribunal in the city where he heard causes 
every day. Admiring the courage of Phileas, he exclaimed, " Why do you try to 
overcome this brave soul and make him renounce God by impiously yielding to 
men ? Do you not see that he is contemplating the glory of Heaven and that he 
makes no account of worldly things ? " This speech drew down upon him the 
indignation of the court, who demanded that both men should die, and the judge 
assented. As they were led out to execution, the brother of Phileas said to the 
governor, " Phileas asks for pardon ". Culcian therefore recalled him and asked 
if it were true. Phileas answered, " God forbid. Do not listen to this unhappy 
man. Far from desiring the reversal of my sentence, I am greatly obliged to the 

248 


BD RABANUS MAURUS [February 4 

emperors, to you and to the court, for through you I become a co-heir with Christ 
and shall enter to-day into possession of His kingdom." After exhorting the 
faithful to perseverance, he was beheaded with Philoromus. 

See Ruinart. Acta martyrum sincera, p. 494. E. Le Blant, " Notes sur les Actes de S. 
Phileas ", Nuovo Bullettino di arch, crista vol. ii (1896), pp. 27-33, expresses a very favourable 
opinion of this document, but cf. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xvi (1898), p. 94, and Delehaye, 
Les martyrs d'Egypte, pp. 155-170. 

ST ISIDORE OF PELUSIUM, Abbot (c. a.d. 450) 

St Isidore was a monk from his youth and became superior of a monastery in the 
neighbourhood of Pelusium in the fifth century. According to Facundus and 
Suidas, he was also ordained priest. During his lifetime men regarded him as a 
model of religious perfection, and his patriarch, St Cyril, and other prelates of his 
time, treated him as their father. He chose St Chrysostom for his model. We 
still have two thousand and twelve of his letters, full of excellent instructions in 
piety and showing great theological learning. They are so well expressed that 
according to some enthusiasts they might be used to replace the classics in the study 
of the Greek language. From their pages shine forth the saint's prudence, humility, 
undaunted zeal and ardent love of God. 

There is some biographical materiel printed in the prefaces to Isidore's letters in Migne, 
PC, vol. lxxviii. See also Aigrain, Quarante-neuf lettres d'Isidore Pelusiote (191 1), and L. 
Bayer, Isidors klassische Bildung (191 5). 

ST MOD AN, Abbot (c. a.d. 550 ?) 

There is no certainty about the life of this Scottish saint. According to his legend 
he was a monk of great austerity of life, who against his will was made abbot of his 
monastery. He is said to have preached the faith at Stirling and in other places 
near the Forth, especially at Falkirk ; but he frequently interrupted his apostolic 
labours to seek solitude in the mountainous country near Dumbarton, where he 
would spend thirty or forty days at a time in contemplation, during which he enjoyed 
a foretaste of the joys of Heaven. At last, when he grew too feeble to move from 
place to place, he finally retired to a lonely spot near the sea surrounded by high 
rocks, and here he died. He is titular saint of the High Church at Stirling, and 
was particularly honoured at Roseneath in Dunbartonshire and at Falkirk. 

See Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i ; Aberdeen Breviary, February 4 ; and KSS. 
The supposed connection of St Modan with Dryburgh, which was emphasized by Butler, 
seems improbable, as A. P. Forbes points out, since there is no reason to believe that there 
was any monastery at Dryburgh before a Premonstratensian abbey was founded there in 
the twelfth century. 

BD RABANUS MAURUS, Archbishop of Mainz (a.d. 856) 

Rabanus, born about the year 784, was probably a native of Mainz, though by some 
writers he is said to have been a Scot or Irishman. His early education was 
undertaken by his parents, who afterwards took him to the neighbouring monastery 
of Fulda, which had been founded by St Boniface, the English apostle of Germany. 
The monastery school under the abbot Bangulf had a great reputation, and Rabanus 
responded eagerly to the instruction. He soon became a wonder to his masters 

249 


February 4] THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

and schoolfellows, so great were his abilities and so quickly did he learn. To 
complete his education he was sent, with his friend Hatto, to study for a year at 
Tours under another great Englishman, Charlemagne's learned adviser, Alcuin. 
In him he found an ideal master and a second father. Alcuin was much attached 
to him and nicknamed him Maurus, after St Benedict's favourite disciple, and he 
wrote him touching letters of counsel after the young man had returned to Fulda. 
"Be a father to the poor and needy ", he says in one of them, " be humble in 
rendering them service, generous in conferring benefits, and so will their blessing 
descend upon you ". 

At Fulda there was a fine library founded by Charlemagne and enriched by the 
zeal of the monastic scribes, and there Rabanus worked. To understand and to be 
able to expound the Holy Scriptures, upon which he afterwards wrote many 
commentaries, he learnt Greek, Hebrew and something of Syriac, and he studied 
the fathers and made a synopsis of their teaching. About the year 799 he received 
deacon's orders and was made master of the monastery school and, about the same 
time, he composed a metrical work in acrostic form in honour of the Holy Cross. 
The monks had a hard time in 805 when a famine was succeeded by a pestilence. 
Harder still was it for Rabanus when the abbot Ratgar ordered all the monks to set 
to work to build, and he had to give up his beloved books to do work for which he 
was quite unfitted. In 815 he was ordained priest and, under the abbot Egilius, 
he resumed his scholastic work as teacher. He never omitted any observance 
prescribed by his order, although his teaching work and his writing made very great 
inroads upon his time. In 822 he became abbot, and it was probably then that he 
wrote most of his works (though he complained ruefully that " seeing that these 
youngsters have enough to eat is a great hindrance ") — notably the sixty-four 
homilies that have come down to us which illustrate his able method of teaching. 
He wrote also a well-known martyrology and had great veneration for the saints. 
He was so obedient to the Holy See that he was called " the Pope's slave ", and 
such was his hatred of heresy that to him every heretic was Antichrist ; on dogmatic 
subjects he stood on the authority of the fathers and distrusted new departures. So 
widespread was his reputation that we find him constantly having to attend synods 
and councils at various cities. He completed the monastery buildings and built 
churches and oratories on all the estates belonging to his house, and he also built 
one or two monasteries. He resigned his office to his friend Hatto and appears to 
have lived some time in retirement, but in 847 he was made archbishop of Mainz, 
though he was seventy-one. 

Henceforth Rabanus lived, if possible, more strenuously than ever, and never 
relaxed his old rule of life, drinking no wine and eating no meat. Three months 
after becoming archbishop he had to hold a synod, the result of which was a series 
of resolutions all tending to stricter observance of the laws of the Church. It was 
so evident that the new archbishop was behind these regulations that a conspiracy 
was formed against his life, but it was discovered, and he magnanimously forgave 
the plotters. A second synod took place in 852 and Rabanus was instrumental in 
bringing about the condemnation of the doctrines of the monk Gottschalk, who 
had been spreading heretical doctrines about grace and predestination, based upon 
an exaggeration of the teaching of St Augustine. The energies of Rabanus lasted 
almost to the end — he travelled about the diocese with capable priests, teaching, 
preaching and reconciling sinners to God. During a famine he daily fed 300 poor 
people at his house, and he continued his labours and his writings until his health 

250 


ST REMBERT [February 4 

entirely gave way ; he became bedridden shortly before his death in 856. Bd 
Rabanus was one of the most learned men of his age. 

A life of Rabanus by his disciple Rudolf has been many times printed (e.g. in Migne, 
PL., vol. cvii ; in the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. i ; and in MGH., Scriptores, vol. xv, 
pp. 329-341). A convenient outline of his career may be found in Knopfier's edition or his 
De institutione clericorum (1900), pp. ix-xvi ; cf. Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, 
vol. ii, pp. 620 seq., and Dtimmler in the Sitzungsberichte of the Berlin Academy, 1898. 

ST NICHOLAS STUDITES, Abbot (a.d. 863) 

This Nicholas was born at Sydonia (now Canea) in Crete, of well-to-do parents 
who took him in his tenth year to Constantinople to his uncle Theophanes at the 
monastery of Studius. The abbot was greatly struck by the little lad and allowed 
him to enter the monastery school, where he soon distinguished himself by his 
docility and eagerness to learn. j At the age of eighteen he became a monk, and it 
was noticed that obedience to rule presented no difficulty to him, so thoroughly 
had he already attained to self-surrender. Nicholas was not destined to live a life of 
peace in those troublous times. The Saracens pillaged his home in Crete, whilst in 
Constantinople and Greece the Church was cruelly persecuted by the inconoclastic 
emperors. Before long, Nicholas, the patriarch St Nicephorus, the abbot St 
Theodore and others were sent into banishment, where Nicholas did all he could 
to assist his fellows and alleviate their sufferings. After the murder of Leo V the 
Armenian the persecution died down for a while and the exiles were allowed to 
return, but on conditions which not all of them would accept. When St Theodore 
died, St Nicholas, who had been a pattern disciple to others, became himself a 
leader and teacher. The persecution lasted on until the death of the Emperor 
Theophilus in 842, when his widow, Theodora, recalled the exiled servants of God 
and restored the venerated images to the churches. Among those who returned 
was the new abbot of the Studites, who was afterwards succeeded by St Nicholas. 
In December 858 began the great and far-reaching d